Duchess of Cambridge visits school project


Place2Be Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge visited Blessed Sacrament Primary School today with comedian John Bishop for an update on M-PACT Plus, our project with Action on Addiction to support children affected by parental drug & alcohol misuse


Summary of key press coverage:

Evening Standard - Duchess of Cambridge helps school pupils escape parents' drug and drink addiction

Mirror: Updates as Duchess of Cambridge and John Bishop visit school to help addicts' families

Hello!: Duchess Kate bonds with youngsters on visit to north London school

ITV: Kate greeted by cheers from excited school children


Press Release:

The Duchess of Cambridge and John Bishop visit school counselling programme focused on tackling the cycle of addiction

Project funded by Comic Relief and The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

Today (Tuesday 1st July) The Duchess of Cambridge and comedian John Bishop visited The Blessed Sacrament School, Islington to visit the M-PACT Plus project and to hear how the programme is progressing following its launch last year.
Created and funded by Comic Relief and The Royal Foundation, the project focuses on a partnership between Place2Be and Action on Addiction and is a major initiative to provide early support for children, parents and families affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse.

The Duchess of Cambridge attended an M-PACT Plus steering group meeting to discuss progress made so far across the programme and specifically in the four initial pilot sites: Manchester and Salford; the North East; London and Essex, before a meeting with head teachers and a private meeting with children to hear more about the mental health support services offered at the school.

Her Royal Highness then joined John Bishop to meet M-PACT Plus practitioners, supporters and members of The Blessed Sacrament school community to hear speeches and more from head teachers about what the programme means for their local schools and communities.

It is estimated that three million children in the UK are living with parental drug and alcohol misuse. This new partnership has seen Place2Be school staff trained by Action on Addiction to identify and support families affected by these issues. A two-year programme is being piloted in four areas of England, with the aim of larger scale delivery of the programme in schools in the future. The partnership combines Place2Be's expertise in providing emotional and mental health services in schools for children and parents, with the expertise of Action on Addiction's 'Moving Parents and Children Together' (M-PACT) programme, which takes a whole-family approach to tackling addiction.

The value of the programme being based in schools is that it provides an opportunity to identify and address the problems early on before it reaches crisis point and importantly, provides a means for ongoing support for the children as well as their parents.

Since the launch in April 2013:

  • 44 schools have been able to refer children and their families on to the programme; eight in Manchester and seven in Salford; eleven in the North East (Durham, Sunderland and Northumberland); ten in London; and eight in Essex.
  • A team of 24 practitioners based across the four pilot sites have been trained to deliver the accredited M-PACT programme. Place2Be practitioners bring added expertise in that they are all qualified counsellors.
  • The teams have engaged with specialist local agencies to ensure there are good referral pathways both into and out of the programme.
  • School staff have been trained to better understand drug and alcohol misuse, helping to identify children affected by this and to initiate conversations with parents around these sensitive issues. This is a vital part of the legacy of the programme, meaning school staff will have the ongoing capacity to do this.


Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief said:

"Supporting those affected by addiction is a long-standing and important part of Comic Relief's work. Children who are affected by parents with addiction are particularly vulnerable, so it's fantastic to be here today to meet the people working hard to ensure that they and their families are getting the support that they need in school"

Nick Booth, Chief Executive of The Royal Foundation said:

'Through this programme we are shining a light on the needs of children affected by the substance misuse of parents and carers. By equipping teachers and school staff with the skills and confidence to address these issues with children and families, we aim to demonstrate the value and importance of intervening early, reducing the long term impact on children, and enabling them to fulfil their potential in life.'

Nick Barton, Chief Executive of Action on Addiction, said:

"We are delighted with our partnership with Place2Be to deliver the M-PACT Plus project, which will allow M-PACT to reach even more of the children and families that need our help. Children of problem substance users are seven times more likely to develop problems themselves but can receive little support despite being so at risk. Our collaboration with Place2Be enables us to provide young people and families with the specialised support they need.

"We are extremely grateful to our patron, The Duchess of Cambridge, for attending today's event and for her continued support of the charity's work."

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said:

"We are absolutely delighted and privileged that The Duchess of Cambridge is attending today's M-PACT Plus steering group to discuss our progress in tackling the impact of parental drug and alcohol misuse on children.

"Place2Be works in schools in some of the most deprived areas of the UK and we see first-hand the urgent need to help children and families living with addiction. When we, together with the school are able to intervene early we can support children and enable more parents to tackle these issues, the whole family benefits from improved health and wellbeing and an improved ability to cope and succeed in their lives. This important collaboration, funded by The Royal Foundation and Comic Relief, means we are able to deepen our expertise in this area through our partnership with Action on Addiction."

- Ends -


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