Prince William visits the Northeast for sustainability and suicide prevention

Both were familiar territory for the Royal

The Prince of Wales was in the northeast of England today, to carry out a number of engagements relating to sustainability.

His first stop was to Seaham to visit Low Carbon Materials and Earthshot Prize Finalists from 2022. Prince William visit was to learn more about how the organisation create their innovative, low-carbon construction material alternatives, and to see the work they has been able to undertake since being chosen as a finalist two years ago.

Prince William learns about asphalt which absorbs carbon during production while in Newcastle (Kensington Royal)

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On his tour, William saw the Research and Development lab, where he was shown how the company creates and tests concrete samples containing its flagship product OSTO®, a carbon negative alternative to other lightweight aggregates. Staff also demonstrated how the company is incorporating waste CO2 into their products, helping to further reduce their carbon footprint.

William then heard about the partnership, a new product called ACLA®, developed with National Highways and supported by Skanska, which enables the production of net zero asphalt – the material absorbs carbon as it is produced. This innovation will help to lower the carbon footprint of British roads, with ACLA® being used for the first time in a resurfacing project in County Durham just last month.

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The future King appeared impressed and asked: ‘How do we get more people to see it… and know that this stuff is genuinely on the way to providing net zero roads, in theory, the full cycle of net zero homes.

‘I mean there’s a world of things we could be doing here. I just think these guys are on to something.’

As he left, William met with six month old Luca and his grandmother Andrea. He shared his hopes that the baby would sleep later, before leaving.

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The second visit of the day was to James’ Place in Newcastle to officially open the charity’s facility, which will provide life-saving treatment and support to men in suicidal crisis. James’ Place is familiar to the Prince, who opened both their Liverpool and London branches in 2018 and 2022 respectively.

James’ Place was set up by the family of James Wentworth-Stanley, who committed suicide in 2001 at the age of 21. James was unable to find the urgent help he needed to deal with suicidal thoughts, leading him to take his own life.

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For William, mental health is a core focus of his work. He has previously undertaken various engagements that focus on male mental health, for example for new fathers as well as creating safe spaces to discuss issues openly like the barbers.

A crowd had gathered outside and William took his time to meet with some of them, including three-year-old Kevin – who was so eager to meet the future King that he told him it was his birthday even though it wasn’t!

Others asked after The Princess of Wales and the children, to which William replied, ‘All doing well, thank you. Yes, we’re doing well.’

Another youngster – Sadie, 6 – gave the Royal a handmade anniversary card, which the Prince promised he would show his children later. He and Catherine marked their 13th wedding anniversary yesterday.

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The Prince of Wales visited James’ Place to open their newest facility to help those in crisis (Kensington Royal)

During his time there, William met with past users of the charity’s services and from staff before meeting with stakeholders and investors.

He then unveiled a plaque to officially open the building, which will support those in crisis. The region has the highest rates of male suicide in England.

Part of the visit also saw the father-of-three hear from those who have been supported by James’ Place, like Dean Stewart, 31. He heard how Dean had struggled with thoughts of self-harm after he dealt with a gambling addiction; he is now studying to become a counsellor.

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Stewart said that the royal visit will ‘one million per cent’ help to save lives of other men by drawing attention to the facility, which takes self-referrals, and its work.

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