William: Britain at its best in times of crisis

Britain is at its best when faced with a crisis, the Duke of Cambridge has said, as he checked in on how small charities are coping during the coronavirus pandemic.

William praised the community spirit that “comes rushing back” in times of adversity as he spoke to some of the first beneficiaries of National Emergencies Trust (NET) funding.

The future king has been appointed as the trust’s first patron, and video-called members of grassroots charities to discuss the challenges they are facing and how the emergency funding is helping them to support their communities.

Speaking to a representative of Moorlands Community Charity, he praised the public’s response to the crisis.

He said: “I think Britain is at its best, weirdly, when we’re in a crisis. We all pull together and that community spirit and that community feel comes rushing back quicker than anything else.”

The NET said £12.5 million has been distributed since the emergency appeal was launched with William’s help last month.

In footage of the latest royal video call to be released amid the pandemic, William gave a “virtual high five” to the Moorlands charity, passing on his good wishes for the “fantastic job” its members are doing.

The organisation, which has seen a significant rise in referrals to the service since the outbreak of Covid-19, is delivering meals to isolated households and ensuring vital products such as baby powder and nappies – which were affected by panic-buying – are provided to those most in need.

William told Jacky Crawford from the charity based in Goole, East Yorkshire: “You’re doing a fantastic job, please pass on many good wishes and big thank yous to all the volunteers.”

The Duke of Cambridge chats to Natalie Webster of Dal Dy Dir
The Duke of Cambridge chats to Natalie Webster of Dal Dy Dir

On his call to Dal Dy Dir – a community farm in Powys, Wales that supports people with disabilities and other marginalised groups – Natalie Webster told him the trust’s help had made “an incredible difference” to the volunteers and charity staff.

William said he wanted to ensure funding is getting to those who need it when they need it.

He said: “I want to make sure that the NET is getting it right and that the money is being distributed to the right people at the right time and that also you’re feeling supported.”

He heard how the charity has been using NET funding to continue offering support to families caring for children with challenging behaviours, as well as distributing food parcels to the community and growing emergency supplies of vegetables.

William told Ms Webster: “It’s got to be reassuring for everyone when so much is changing around them to know that you’re still there and your team are still looking out for them.”

He also jokingly wished her “good luck” as he noted the animals in the background.

Laughing, he said: “Your sheep and chickens are running amok behind you so good luck!”

William enjoyed a joke too with Ms Crawford when she explained that she and her partner were sticking to opposite sides of the house “so that we don’t infect each other, just in case”.

Sparking laughter from the charity worker, William quipped: “Is this an excuse you’ve been looking for for a while Jacky?”

Last week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took part in their first royal tour via video call when they chatted to teachers and pupils in a virtual visit to a Burnley primary school.

NET chairman Lord Dannatt said everyone involved with the trust is “delighted” to have William as its new patron.

He said: “We look forward to working with him, and our partners in the UK Community Foundation network, to help communities across the country tackle the dramatic rise in food poverty as well as the many other increasingly pressing social issues arising from this crisis.”

John Herriman, chief executive officer of the NET, thanked the “hugely generous pledges” made so far by the public, charitable trusts and corporate donors, but cautioned “the battle is not yet won”.

He said: “We’re asking the public to make a contribution, if possible, and help us spread the word.

“Everyone who donates can be sure that their money is reaching those in need quickly and making a real difference to those who need it most.”

People can visit www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk to make a donation or text APPEAL to 70141 to donate £10.