SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

Prince & Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales leaves poignant message on visit to innovative centre

The Princess of Wales, has officially opened The Hope Street Centre, a Southampton family-oriented residential centre, that has been years in the making.

Hope Street is an idea of The One Small Thing Charity and its chairwoman, Lady Edwina Grosvenor. It’s been set up to support women involved in the justice system. As Lady Edwina remarked: “Since planning was approved, we’ve seen Brexit, a global pandemic, war in Europe, and a cost-of-living crisis. I’m not overestimating when I say that that has affected virtually every single part of what we’ve done here and it has also made fundraising very challenging. It’s been unprecedented times.”

Now women who are headed to prison, now have an alternative to spend time with their children as their cases move through the judicial system. A pilot program, the secure facility was designed for women, by women. The Princess of Wales described Hope Street as “inspirational.” She went on to say: “You hear time and time again the isolation each individual feels, but actually, they are going to be part of the community here and engaging with members of the public, but also receive the therapeutic support everybody does need in order to heal. It’s having the time for somebody to understand where you come from and to give you the tools that you need.”

During her time there, the Princess of Wales was shown the residential flats, play areas and met residents. An employee shared with Catherine how places like Hope Street allowed her to be who she is today, “I managed to rebuild my relationships with my kids, and sort myself and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my opportunity here.

In the Hope Street courtyard is a ‘Messages of Hope’ tree. The Princess of Wales left her own message: “I see you and I am with you. Good luck in all that lies ahead.”

Lady Edwina Grovesnor is a prison philanthropist and believes Hope Street shows there is an alternative way to handle women and children in the court system. For the Princess of Wales, the visit connects to her mission to promote the importance of positive early childhoods.