Yesterday, The Duchess of Cambridge was in Birmingham for an unannounced engagement, the details of which were released by Kensington Palace late last night.
The Duchess joined parents, children and staff at MiniBrum, an interactive mini-city for children at Birmingham’s ThinkTank Science Museum. The visit is part of a 24-hour mini-tour of the UK she is taking, to spread the news of the launch of a landmark survey on children’s health and happiness.
The survey, which Catherine officially launched during her visit to Birmingham, is part of her new Early Years Programme and she hopes that it will trigger “lasting change for generations to come.” ‘5 Big Questions on the Under 5s’ is thought to be the largest survey of its kind in the country and it hopes to give people a view on raising the next generation of Britons.
On launching the survey, the Duchess said: “Parents, carers and families are at the heart of caring for children in the formative years, so that is why I want to listen to them. As a parent, I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children.
“I want to hear the key issues affecting our families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most. My ambition is to provide a lasting change for generations to come.”
Kate was joined by children from Henley Montessori School and St Paul’s Nursery in Balsall Heath for the event, and enjoyed spending time with them as they talked and played – although there was a mishap when one of the cupboard doors came off in the cafe, prompting the Duchess to exclaim that they had broken the place!
The future Queen also spoke with parents, which included the parenting author Giovanna Fletcher, married to McFly frontman Tom Fletcher with three sons, before sitting down in a group to discuss various issues which surround parenthood today and the role that the local community can play in helping parents to raise their children.
During the group session with other parents and Kate Beaver, the managing director of polling company Ipsos MORI, the Duchess said: “I have listened to experts, academics, practitioners and service providers who work every day to make our families and communities stronger. I wanted to dig deeper to understand issues we face and how best to tackle them together.”
She also mentioned how being a mother has given her a different perspective. “There’s so much pressure on parents to feel the responsibility is just down to them but actually it’s important to work together as a community,” she told those present.
The survey will be online for the next month and can be found at 5bigquestions.org.uk, for any of those who would like to take part. The Duchess continues her whistle-stop tour of the United Kingdom today!
The survey is for all adults (16+) living across the UK, with or without children. You can participate here.
Today, Catherine is visiting Cardiff and Surrey; the London stint of her day was cancelled due to bad weather. More on Kate’s other events on the site to come – stay tuned!