January 21, 2020 – Launching Landmark UK-Wide Survey On Early Childhood – The Duchess of Cambridge has launched a month long national survey to help guide her future work in the early years development of children. The ‘5 Big Questions’ online poll is being conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of The Royal Foundation and “aims to spark the biggest ever conversation on early childhood”. The results of the survey will be made available in March and will determine the next step in Catherine’s early years work. To kick off the initiative The Duchess visited MiniBrum at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum where she met with health professionals, parents, a group of children and supporters. The Duchess will then continue promotion of her online poll by going on a 24 hour tour, making stops in London, Cardiff and Surrey.
January 22, 2020 – ‘5 Big Questions’ 24 Hour Tour – Continuing promotion of her early years online survey The Duchess of Cambridge made a stop in Cardiff, Wales where she joined a baby sensory class at The Ely & Caerau Integrated Children’s Centre to hear about the support that parents receive, and to talk about the ‘5 Big Questions’ online survey. During her visit The Duchess spoke candidly about the isolation she felt after giving birth to Prince George; “It was the first year and I’d just had George — William was still working with search and rescue — and we came up here and I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey. It was so isolated, so cut off. I didn’t have any family around, and he was doing night shifts. So…if only I had had a center like this.” The Duchess of Cambridge then returned to HMP Send to talk to some of the women she met during a visit to the prison in 2015, who have since been successfully rehabilitated, released and are rebuilding their families, in addition to women currently at the prison. Catherine heard about the work that the The Forward Trust does at the prison in supporting clients to improve their relationships with friends and family, including reconnecting with children.
January 29, 2020 – Visiting LEYF Gardens Nursery – Staying true to her commitments Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge visited LEYF Stockwell Nursery & Pre-School to help the teachers serve breakfast to the children. The Duchess was originally scheduled to visit the school on January 22, 2020 as part of her 24 hour tour for the launch of her ‘5 Big Questions’ online survey, but the visit got canceled due to inclement weather. During her visit Catherine spoke to parents and staff about the online survey and talked with the chefs and apprentices from the LEYF Chef Academy about the importance of nutritious food for child development.
February 04, 2020 – The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit South Wales – On an away day to South Wales The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took on a variety of engagements highlighting local organisations and businesses. One of their stops included an unannounced visit to Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour, a family run business. There, Catherine spoke to local families about her recently launched ‘5 Big Questions’ survey run by The Royal Foundation which asks UK parents, carers and early years professionals for their views on raising the next generation of children under 5.
February 12, 2020 – ‘5 Big Questions ‘ – The Ark Open Farm – Northern Ireland – The Duchess of Cambridge continues her UK-wide ‘5 Big Questions’ survey tour with a visit to Northern Ireland and later Scotland, starting with a visit to The Ark Open Farm in County Down, Northern Ireland where met with local parents and grandparents to discuss the survey and their thoughts on the Early Years.
February 12, 2020 – ‘5 Big Questions ‘ – Social Bite Cafe – Scotland – Continuing promotion of her survey on The Early Years, Her Royal Highness visited the Social Bite café in Aberdeen where she spoke with employees, volunteers, and customers who have experienced homelessness about how early childhood experiences can have a lasting impact. Social Bite runs social enterprise cafés across Scotland and distributes food and hot drinks to people experiencing homelessness. The organization also employs staff who have experienced homelessness themselves.
July 23, 2020 – The Royal Foundation Announces £1.8 Million Fund For Frontline Workers – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that The Royal Foundation granted nearly £1.8 million to ten leading charities at the heart of mental health and frontline support, through a fund set up as part of the organization’s response to COVID-19. The grants aim to build on the work that the Foundation has already done to support those on the frontline of the pandemic in the UK, and the mental health sector. The Royal Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, in partnership with NHS England, aims support the nation’s mental health during this time, and in the months and years ahead. The grants will allow mental health charities to increase their capacity for helpline and chat services to meet rising demand.
August 04, 2020 – Visiting Baby Basics UK And Baby Basics Sheffield – Following private visits to Baby Basics West Norfolk where The Duchess of Cambridge heard about the baby bank’s need for donations, Catherine spearheaded a drive for donations of items for babies from brands and high street retailers. In total, nineteen brands donated items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK. Baby banks support families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. In the UK, they are powered primarily by volunteers and typically run on professional referrals from services such as health visitors, midwives and social workers. In part The Duchess said, “Over recent months, I have heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the most difficult of times and I have been deeply moved by their stories. Having somewhere to turn to for support is important for all families, and baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need.”