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The Duchess of Cambridge underlines importance of peer-to-peer parenting groups

Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge
i-Images/ Pool

The Duchess of Cambridge has been chatting with parents and parenting organisations about ongoing work to create and continue peer-to-peer parent support groups during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate hosted a video call with parenting organisations at Kensington Palace early on September 22nd 2020 with groups like Leeds Dads, the Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast, the National Childbirth Trust, Better Start Blackpool, Home-Start UK, and others taking part.

The conversation was aimed at learning more about the peer-to-peer support groups that the organisations ru, and to hear how they have supported mothers during the pandemic. Kate thanked all who have been working on these programmes, saying, “A huge well done to all of you, I know there’s a big team of you out there in communities across the country. Both William and I hear about how vital these relationships are to families – they’re a real lifeline.

“So to you and your army of volunteers out there, a huge well done. I, like you, would love to see peer-to-peer support more embedded and celebrated in communities and society as a whole.”

Leeds Dads founder, Errol Murray, said in a news release on the organisation’s website that, “It was great to hear how the Duchess of Cambridge saw the value of peer support, and how it had helped people throughout the pandemic. Whether helping parents to take care of their families, or just being a listening ear. I hope she is able to give peer support the recognition that it needs.”

The National Childbirth Trust’s Director of Impact and Engagement, Sarah McMullen, said in a statement on the Trust’s website that, “Peer support really can change lives, by building trusted relationships for new parents to talk honestly about how they are feeling and the difficulties they are facing. Normalising difficult feelings can help overcome guilt and shame – helping people to access the support they need and inspire hope for the future.”

Home-Start UK’s CEO, Peter Grigg, said in a statement on the organisation’s website, “We are delighted that the Duchess of Cambridge took time to recognise the vital work of Home-Start volunteers and those shining beacons selflessly supporting families before, during, and after this pandemic. The rich variety of informal and formal help in so many communities builds the confidence of parents facing challenges and helps avert families from crisis.”

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After her Zoom call, Kate headed out to the Old English Garden at Battersea Park in London to meet mothers and continue her chat about peer-to-peer support groups. She chatted with Irma Martus and Carol Elliot, single mothers who have been receiving supportive telephone calls with Home-Start Wandsworth.

Carol told reporters afterwards, “I said my volunteer calls me every week and they feel like a proper friend and she said everyone needs friends.”

Kate also met with Nalini Sadai, Jessie Brent, Christine Thatai, and Morgan Cassius. Sadai and Brent have been volunteers providing support to parents, while Thatai and Cassius have been using an app called Mush to stay connected with other mothers and to develop friendships during lockdown.

Thatai told reporters, “Kate was very interested in how we struck up friendships.”

Later in the day, Kate also had private engagements with BBC broadcaster Zeinab Badwai, Eagle Rock Entertainment’s CEO Alice Webb, and Peter Fonagy, the Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.