William and Kate back mental health charities in North Wales


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued to shine a light on the work of mental health charities today as they visited North Wales.

William and Kate have carried out a number of engagements in recent weeks which have focused on the causes and consequences of mental health problems.

Hundreds of well-wishers greeted their arrival in the royal town of Caernarfon, with the floating of giant bubbles in Castle Square in particular catching the eye of the Duke.

He told welcoming dignitaries: "I'm particularly impressed with the giant bubbles. George would be absolutely obsessed by that.

"I will have to get one of those for Christmas."

First stop for the royal couple was the headquarters of Gisda, which was set up in 1985 to provide support and accommodation for homeless young people in the area.

Since its inception it has developed many other supporting projects for young vulnerable people aged between 14 and 25.

William and Kate met some of the charity's users and volunteer staff at its catering training centre known as Te a Cofi.

Youngsters gain invaluable work experience at the training centre and showed how they made Welsh cakes before presenting them as a gift for the couple to take home.

The Duke and Duchess were given an overview of the services provided and learned it supports as many as 350 young people at any one time, and last year supported 2,000 youngsters in total.

Among the young people they met was Jessica Davies, 21, who has benefited from the charity's Young Parents Project - a three-year scheme set up last year with funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

The project provides a meeting place for parents to give them training opportunities, build confidence, and help with various services and benefits.

Ms Davies, from Deiniolen, Gwynedd, said her life had been changed after she was referred to the project by a health visitor.

She said: "Loads of things had gone wrong in my life and I was on the verge of quitting college.

"Living in a rural area I didn't have a lot of confidence but this project gave me the chance to build that up.

"I'm not stuck in all the time. I have made so many friends and there are lots of activities to do for parents and children."

After completing her college course she is hoping to study social work at Bangor University later this year.

Her three-year-old son, Theo Hayward, later presented a posy of flowers to the Duchess.

Ms Davies said: "Kate said she liked the colour and smell of the flowers, and William said he looked very smart."

The royal couple moved across town to the local branch of mental health charity Mind where they viewed a photography exhibition entitled "Mute: are you being heard?"

The project by Ynys Mon and Gwynedd's local Mind organisation is designed to give young people a voice to talk about their experiences living with mental health problems. The photographs address the issues and challenges faced by young people.

:: Gisda originally stood for "Grwp Ieuenctid Sengl Digartref Arfon", which means: Young, Single, Homeless Group of Arfon.