Kate launches national helpline for parents and children

The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken about the pressures of motherhood as she launched a new national family helpline aimed at supporting parents and their children.

Kate, a mother of three, sympathised with the parenting problems of others when she chatted to volunteers manning the FamilyLine service run by the charity Family Action, telling them: “Everybody experiences the same struggle.”

With three children under the age of six – Prince George, five, Princess Charlotte, three, and Princess Louis, who is nine months old on Wednesday – Kate is focused on improving early years support for children and their parents.

She has established a steering group of experts which meets monthly, and her visit was hosted by David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, who is a member of the project.

Kate meets families, young carers and volunteers at FamilyLine
Kate meets families, young carers and volunteers at FamilyLine

As Kate chatted to the volunteers she joked about the help available to mothers: “You get a lot of support with the baby years… particularly in the early days up to the age of about one, but after that there isn’t a huge amount – lots of books to read.”

At the charity’s offices in Forest Hill, south London, the duchess listened to a role-playing training session where volunteer Sagari Sarkar answered a mock call from a mother struggling to cope with looking after her baby alone.

Kate receives a bouquet of flowers as she leaves
Kate receives a bouquet of flowers as she leaves

Ms Sarkar, a mother-of-three, said about Kate’s parenting comment: “I think it makes her human, it makes her in touch. She’s a parent, a very active parent, and I think that’s what people like about her.

“Why she’s a great supporter of our service is that she does recognise that families have the same pressures and struggles and she’s no exception. She may have slightly different circumstances to the rest of us but, you know, being a parent is being a parent.”

You can read more about The Duchess of Cambridge's visit to @family_action in Lewisham, South London today here: https://t.co/SPg5er1Obnpic.twitter.com/t2ynSy2Don

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 22, 2019

FamilyLine has had a soft launch, running for around a year, and provides a telephone line, email and text service for anyone struggling with family life, from parenting and relationship difficulties to mental health and wellbeing.

The service aims to provide immediate and long-term support, practical information and guidance, and help with accessing relevant services.

Family Action is celebrating 150 years of working to help families looking for support, and today it helps about 45,000 families every year in Britain through 150 specialist services.