Kate meets children from early intervention programme


The Duchess of Cambridge met children enrolled in an early intervention mentoring programme designed to keep them clear of trouble in later life.

Kate arrived at Islington Town Hall today, stepping out in a grey dress by Orla Kiely, which she has worn before, to greet dozens of spectators.

She was greeted by Islington Mayor Richard Greening and the council leader Richard Watts.

During the visit, the Duchess is attending a reception with officials from Chance UK - a charity designed to help children aged five to 11 who are at risk of slipping into a pattern of anti-social or criminal behaviour.

Chance UK Chief Executive Gracia McGrath and Senior Programme Manager Caroline Hopkins welcomed Kate to the engagement, saying there were some children inside who were "dying to meet her".

The Duchess spent time with six children from the programme - one from each borough it works in - with their parents and mentors, to learn about how it has personally benefited them.

During the reception the Duchess will hear a speech from Kessington Ladipo, of Hackney, who graduated from programme in 2005.

Mr Lapido is now studying politics, economics and philosophy at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Chance's programmes provide weekly one-to-one mentoring sessions with a trained adult volunteer to help build the child's self-esteem and improve their confidence, education and family life.

The organisation - which was set up by a policeman working in Islington in 1995 - now helps more than 200 children across six of London's borough's every year.

The Duchess smiled and laughed with the children, seated at three separate tables, who showed her their scrap books of photos and drawings.

"So tell me, these are the fun things you've done together - wow," she said to one young boy as she looked at photos of rock climbing and other activities.

"Was it fun, did you get really high?"

For Megan Sparrow, 10, meeting royalty stirred mixed emotions.

She said: "It was exciting but also really, really scary."

"She asked me different questions, like 'is everything okay' and 'how do you think the mentoring has helped you?'."

Megan has been with her mentor Katie Yianni, 27, since February.

Ms Yianni has taken Megan to Buckingham Palance among other excursions around London.

She said the two were great friends, but possibly regret doing pulling silly faces for a photograph on the Tube which would later be seen by the Duchess.

"We never knew we were going to come here today," she laughed.