The Duchess of Cambridge and comedian John Bishop met pupils and staff at Willows Primary School in Wythenshawe to launch a new counselling project for families affected by addiction.
Kate Middleton launched the M-PACT Plus project, a new counselling programme funded by Comic Relief and The Royal Foundation.
The charities Place2Be and Action on Addiction will work in partnership to provide early support for school children affected by a parents drug or alcohol misuse.
The Princess said: “Research has shown that children of those who are addicted are seven times more likely to have addiction problems themselves. They are also brought up surrounded by fear, instability and chaos.
“Last year, I asked The Royal Foundation, which I share with William and Harry, to see what could be done to help these children. In partnership with Comic Relief, our Foundation commissioned a piece of research to explore this issue. Today, it gives me an enormous feeling of pride and excitement to launch a programme that will bring this research to life.”
Comic, John Bishop, who has worked with Comic Relief said: “Having visited Comic Relief projects and seen first-hand how a parent’s alcohol and drug addiction can be devastating for children. I’m really proud to be taking part in today’s launch. Thanks to this new programme children will get the support they desperately need early, giving them a real chance for a better life.”
Benita Refson OBE, Chief Executive of Place2Be said: “We are hugely excited to be launching the M-PACT Plus project, and feel privileged that The Duchess of Cambridge is attending and supporting today’s launch event.
“Working in schools in some of the most deprived areas of the UK we know first-hand the urgent need to support children and families living with addiction. Identifying and tackling this problem early on is so crucial to helping families to tackle these issues so that they can face brighter futures. The collaboration, funded by The Royal Foundation and Comic Relief, will enable us to do just that through working together with Action on Addiction.”
It is estimated that 2.6 million children in the UK are living with a parent who misuses alcohol and 250-350,000 UK children are affected by parents using drug. The new partnership will provide programmes across schools in England and will deliver proven methods of support for young people and their families. The programme will combine Place2Be’s expertise in providing emotional and mental health support services in schools for children and parents, and their network across schools and voluntary and social care agencies, 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 initiative is being piloted in four areas of England for two years.