2016 | Anna Freud Centre

2016 | Anna Freud Centre

FROM THE WEBSITE: The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a children’s mental health charity with over 60 years’ experience of caring for young minds. Their vision is a world in which children and their families are effectively supported to build on their own strengths to achieve their goals in life.

The Anna Freud Centre brings together leaders in neuroscience, mental health, social care and education to work together to improve understanding and practice.

Their goal is to develop, disseminate and deliver the best possible evidence-based treatment, through scientific innovation, research and collaboration and underpinned by the direct experience and insight of children and their families.


I am honoured that the Duchess of Cambridge has chosen to become a patron of the Centre. I’m particularly proud because I have come to recognise just how knowledgeable she is in relation to what is a complex and difficult issue that so few people genuinely understand. It is my hope that her future work in this field will serve as a catalyst for all and that we are able to achieve the quality of care that children and their families so richly deserve. – Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

We are delighted that the Duchess has chosen to become a patron of the Centre. As a champion of mental health, she will make a huge difference not just to the children and families we support but to families all over the country. – Michael Samuel, Chair of Trustees at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families


— Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge became Patron in February 2016.


September 17, 2015 – Visting The Anna Freud Centre For Children – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Anna Freud Centre in London, England. The visit was for the Duchess to see how the charity is working to lead change in children’s and young people’s mental health care. The Duchess toured the Family School and participated in a range of activities, including the ‘SmartGym’ programme which combines technology and sports psychology. It aims to build resilience, develop emotional skills and improve academic performance in children with emotional and behavioural problems.

December 15, 2015 – Anna Freud Centre Family School Christmas Party – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes part in group activities as she attends the Anna Freud Centre Family School Christmas Party at Anna Freud Centre in London, England. The Family School completely integrates mental health support into children’s education, with the entire family supported in helping the child fully benefit from their learning opportunities. During her visit The Duchess joined groups of families in festive activities designed to help pupils reflect on the positive progress in their social relationships and communication skills. The Duchess then watched performances by the pupils, which celebrated their achievements.

May 04, 2016 – Lunch In Support Of The Anna Freud Centre – In her first engagement as Patron, The Duchess Of Cambridge attended a lunch reception supporting the development of a new centre of excellence for children’s mental health. The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is campaigning for change in children’s mental health. The centre is due to open in the Autumn of 2018 in Kings Cross. The Centre will for the first time, bring together people and organisations in mental health, education, social care and neuroscience, alongside children and their families. At its heart will be The Family School, for children aged 5-14 excluded from mainstream school, which combines mental health care and education. The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has embarked on a £10million capital campaign to complete the £34million funding required for the project. During her visit Catherine viewed a video which showed the upcoming changes with the centre and met with families who benefit from the centre as well as key supporters.

May 16, 2016 – Launch Of Heads Together Campaign – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry launched their new campaign to end stigma around mental health. The Heads Together campaign will see them working in partnership with inspiring charities to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing. The following organizations have joined the campaign: The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Best Beginnings, CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably, Contact (a military mental health coalition), Mind, Place2Be, The Mix, and YoungMinds. Speaking at the launch The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry set out their ambitions for the Heads Together campaign. The Duchess said: “Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need, which can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help everyone feel much more confident with their everyday mental health, and to have the practical tools to support their friends and family.”

October 10, 2016 – Celebrating World Mental Health Day At The London Eye – As a partner charity of the Heads Together campaign, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families joined Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, and invited guests at the London Eye to raise awareness on mental health. The event was an opportunity to hear the stories of people who have been affected by mental health difficulties and to thank those who played a supportive role in their lives. Jessica Parker, who was involved with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families participation work, shared how her mother supported her through an eating disorder. Speaking at the World Mental Health Day celebration, Cathrine said in part: “…The three of us are coming to the realisation that more needs to be done to support people who are seeking help. Over the coming months, we hope to explore what else we can do to increase the level of service and support that people can receive. But first, as William said, we must tackle the stigma that stops people asking for help in the first place. We want to encourage people to talk to one another…”

October 11, 2016 – The Duchess Of Cambridge Visits The Netherlands – During her first solo overseas tour Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visited the British Ambassador’s Residence in The Hague, where she convened a roundtable discussion on the themes of addiction, intervention, family and mental health. The discussion brought together experts from the renowned Trimbos Institute, a non-profit organisation that focuses on mental health, and research of drug and alcohol and the impact of these substances have on society, Chief Executive Officer, Peter Fonagy, and Director of Clinical Services, Dr Peter Fuggle, on behalf of Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, and representatives from UK charity, Action on Addiction. The Professionals and experts from each of the three organisations shared best their knowledge on the subjects while The Duchess of Cambridge joined on the theme of early intervention, focused on how to protect children who are affected by parental addiction and mental health problems within the family. Peter Fonagy commended Her Royal Highness for facilitating the roundtable saying: “brilliant idea […] bringing institutions together that have similar interests…”

January 11, 2017 – Anna Freud Centre & Child Bereavement UK Centre – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visited the Early Years Parenting Unit (EYPU) of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London, England. The Duchess was on hand to learn more about their work with families who have children under five years old. Her Royal Highness met parents who have completed the early years programme. She also joined families taking part in a ‘theraplay’ session promoting attachment between parents and children. She also heard stories from families who have benefited from the Parent Infant Psychotherapy service, which supports expecting and new parents with their babies.

February 05, 2017 – Team Heads Together London Marathon Training Day – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joined a training day with the runners taking part in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon for Heads Together, the official Charity of the Year at the Olympic Park in London. Their Royal Highnesses joined training sessions on the new London Marathon Community Track with more than 150 Team Heads Together and Anna Freud National Centre runners.

April 19, 2017 – The Duchess Of Cambridge Hosts Team Heads Together Runners – The Duchess of Cambridge met Team ‘Heads Together’ runners including the Anna Freud National Centre’s Research Assistant Rosa Town at Kensington Palace as they took part in a final training session before the Virgin Money London Marathon. Her Royal Highness personally thanked Rosa and the assembled runners for helping to change the conversation on mental health with Heads Together – the campaign she spearheaded with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry of which the Anna Freud National Centre is a charity partner.

April 23, 2017 – Attending The Virgin Money London Marathon – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry cheer on 39,000 runners talking part in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon in London, England. The ‘Heads Together’ mental heath campaign, spearheaded by The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, was the marathon’s 2017 Charity of the Year. The Anna Freud National Centre is a charity partner, and a group of ‘Young Champions’, clinicians, friends, family and colleagues joined the official Anna Freud National Centre cheer team. Afterwards, Rosa Town, Research Assistant at the Anna Freud National Centre, met again with the Duchess of Cambridge at the special post-race reception with other runners.

October 16, 2017 – Attending The Charities Forum Event – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry attend a Charities Forum Event. Students and parents from the Anna Freud Centre were invited by STUDIOCANAL, BAFTA Kids and Belmondto to board the Belmond British Pullman train and chat with Their Royal Highnesses. Anna Freud Centre ‘Parent Champions’ spoke with The Duchess about their experiences of participating in services, research and projects offered by the centre. During the visit Their Royal Highnesses also met the cast and crew from the forthcoming film Paddington 2 at Paddington Station.

November 07, 2017 – Attending Anna Freud National Centre Gala Dinner – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the 2017 Gala Dinner for The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) at Kensington Palace in London, England. The Anna Freud Centre is one of the ‘Heads Together’ charity partners. The event celebrated the new £39 million Centre of Excellence currently under construction on Rodney Street in Islington. During the event The Duchess heard more about the work of the centre from those who are involved with the charity, including families who have benefited from the work of the organisation.

February 13, 2019 – Attending ‘Mental Health In Education’ Conference – The Duchess of Cambridge attended The Royal Foundation’s ‘Mental Health in Education’ Conference. The conference brings together experts from across the mental health and education sectors to explore and discuss the benefits of collaborative working and what more can be done to tackle mental health issues in schools. The Duchess of Cambridge met Head Teachers from a number of schools that are currently piloting The Royal Foundation’s ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ programme and sat in on a number of listening sessions. The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is one of the programme’s partners and Chief Executive, Peter Fonagy, made a speech focusing on the current gaps and future needs in education and mental health.

May 01, 2019 – The Duchess Of Cambridge Opens Anna Freud Centre Of Excellence – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge officially opens the Kantor Centre of Excellence in London as Patron of the Anna Freud Centre. The new building is a purpose-built space where leading neuroscientists and practitioners in mental health, social care and education will work together with children and young people to transform mental health for them and their families. At the heart of the new centre is the ground-breaking Pears Family School, a school for children who have been excluded from mainstream education and focuses on re-integrating them back to a mainstream school. During her visit The Duchess met students who are benefiting from the centre and ‘young champions’ who are advocates for the centre. During a short speech, The Duchess said in part: “…the ambition for the New Kantor Centre of Excellence is hugely inspiring. The bringing together of research, education, practice and policy, all in one place, will take Anna Freud Centre’s mission to the next level…”

May 07, 2019 – The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Launch The King’s Cup Regatta – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a previously unannounced visit to Cutty Sark, to launch The King’s Cup Regatta. The event coincided with the announcement that The Duke and Duchess will host the new annual sailing event in August on the Isle of Wight as well as go head to head as skippers of individual sailing boats in an eight boat regatta race, to raise awareness and funds for eight of their Patronages. The winning team will be awarded The King’s Cup, a historic trophy first presented by King George V at Cowes’ Royal Yacht Squadron in 1920. The Duchess’s chosen charities are Action on Addiction, Place2Be, The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, and The Royal Foundation in connection with Her Royal Highness’s Early Years programme. During their visit The Duke and Duchess joined children from Place2Be in trying out sailing simulators and they also unveiled the King’s Cup. Upon their departure they took a moment to greet crowds in an impromptu walkabout.

July 01 , 2019 – ‘Back To Nature’ Garden At Hampton Court Place – The Duchess of Cambridge invited children from Her Royal Highness’ patronages The Anna Freud Centre, Evelina Children’s Hospital, Action for Children and Place2Be to the unveiling of her garden at the Royal Horticultural Society Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. During the event, Catherine joined students and patients from her other charities for special outdoor activities, including looking for insects, exploring dens and a treasure hunt. The garden, which features a waterfall, bee-friendly wildflower meadow and a pond, was showcased at the Chelsea Flower Show earlier in the year. The design has been developed further to create additional opportunities for children and families to interact with nature and is double the size of the original.

August 08, 2019 – Inaugural King’s Cup Regatta – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kicked off the Inaugural King’s Cup Regatta at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The Royal couple went head to head in the regatta to raise awareness and funds for eight of their charitable causes. The Duchess skippered the boat representing her early years initiative with the Royal Foundation. Catherine’s other represented charities were Action on Addiction, The Anna Freud Centre, and Place2Be. Unfortunately, The Duchess of Cambridge received a wooden spoon as her boat came in last. Prince William gets the bragging rights as Bear Grylls accepted the trophy on behalf Prince William’s charity Tusk.

July 23, 2020 – The Royal Foundation Announces £1.8 Million Fund For Frontline Workers – The Anna Freud Centre was one of ten charities that received funds from The Royal Foundation. With their investment, AFC plans to accelerate the development of their child mental health training packages by putting them on digital learning platforms. The courses, aimed at professionals and the wider community, will include training to support COVID-19 issues, including managing anxiety and trauma. The grant will also support the development of additional materials required for schools as they reopen as part of the Mentally Healthy Schools site. Individual grief trauma counseling from Hospice UK will also be available for all frontline workers, and all 250,000 emergency responders across the UK will have access to peer-to-peer support, training, and mental health resources from Mind’s Blue Light mental health support program. Earlier in the week, The Duke and Duchess spoke to four representatives from organizations that will benefit from the fund, including two emergency responders and two mental health counselors. They heard about the challenges facing organizations and how mental health support will be needed for those working on the frontline and those delivering vital support to the nation.

May 13, 2021 – The Cambridges Visit Wolverhampton – To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Way Youth Zone project in Wolverhampton. It supports children and young people with their mental health and well-being and is part of the HeadStart program, which the Anna Freud Centre is evaluating. Established by The National Lottery Community Fund, HeadStart is a program designed to improve the resilience and emotional well-being of children and young people by giving them the skills they need to address the challenges of modern life. As part of the program, The Anna Freud Centre, a Heads Together charity partner of which The Duchess is a Patron, and University College London are evaluating evidence about new ways to improve young people’s mental health and well-being and prevent serious mental health issues from developing. It includes survey responses from 65,000 children and young people – including many young people from Wolverhampton, such as those accessing HeadStart support at The Way – about their mental health and the strengths, skills, and social connections that support their well-being. During the visit, The Duke and Duchess joined a group of young people who use The Way’s services as they took part in several well-being sessions and met a group of HeadStart ambassadors.

October 10, 2022 – World Mental Health Day With BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat – BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat hosted The Prince and Princess of Wales, as well as the Anna Freud Centre’s Dr Abigail Miranda, for a discussion about young people and mental health on World Mental Health Day. The discussion examined young people’s challenges and opportunities regarding their mental wellbeing. The Prince and Princess of Wales previously visited Radio 1 in April 2017, when they paid a surprise visit to Adele Roberts who was running the marathon in aid of Heads Together, the pioneering mental health campaign led by Their Royal Highnesses which involved the Anna Freud Centre, encouraging people to feel comfortable to speak openly about their mental health. Head of BBC Radio 1, Aled Haydn Jones, said: “It’s been fantastic to welcome The Prince and Princess of Wales back to our studios to discuss something so close to both their and our audience’s hearts. What was discussed will resonate with so many of our listeners and it means so much to us that we can all work together to help tackle the stigma around this issue.”

January 25, 2023 – Meeting With Early Years Advisory Group – Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, and Professor Eamon McCrory, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Director of Education and Training, were appointed to offer strategic advice to The Princess of Wales and provide oversight of the work of her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. They joined a group of six other experts from academia, science, and the early years’ sector appointed to the Advisory Group. The group will support the delivery of the Centre for Early Childhood’s work in commissioning new research, learning from best practices in the UK and globally, and raising awareness of the impact the first five years of life have on future outcomes. Several of those involved, including Professors Fonagy and McCrory, has already played a pivotal role in the work The Princess of Wales has been pursuing for more than a decade in this field. They are joined on the Advisory Group by senior figures from organizations, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Nuffield Foundation, and Action for Children.

May 18, 2023 – The Princess of Wales Visits The Anna Freud Charity – The Princess of Wales joined a special event to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. Her Royal Highness took part in discussions on how evidence-based research, clinical expertise, and young people’s lived experience can be united to create innovative new ideas and close the gap between children’s needs and the help they receive. She then joined a group of secondary school students who took part in a series of classroom activities that explored how they deal with their anxious feelings. Students reflected on and practiced their healthy coping skills, drawing on ideas from an animation, before applying their knowledge to scenarios that might make people anxious.