The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Foundling Museum on Wednesday 19th January to learn more about the care sector and meet representatives from across the system, including those with direct experience of living in care.
The Foundling Museum tells the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity which was founded in 1739 as a home for children whose mothers couldn’t keep or care for them. The Museum delivers training, mentorship programmes and creative projects, led and developed by contemporary artists, writers and musicians, to continue to use creative action to transform and improve the lives of care-experienced young people.
Upon arrival, The Duke and Duchess joined a roundtable discussion which brought together experts and stakeholders from across the sector to speak about the wider landscape of care in the UK, the challenges that young people leaving care can face, including employment, housing, mental health and addiction, and the work that is being carried out to tackle these issues.
Through her work over the past decade The Duchess of Cambridge, who became Patron of the Foundling Museum in 2019, has seen first-hand how some of today’s hardest social challenges have their roots in the earliest years of a person’s life. The Duchess is committed to raising awareness of the importance of early childhood experiences and of collaborative action in order to improve outcomes across society.
Their Royal Highnesses then spent time with individuals who have lived experience of the care system and learnt about their stories. These included author and poet Lemn Sissay, former track and field athlete Kriss Akabusi, and writer Allan Jenkins. The Duke and Duchess also met a group of young care leavers to hear about some of the challenges they have encountered, and the impact of the support and training they are receiving through the Foundling Museum’s Tracing Our Tales programme.
Launched in October 2017, Tracing Our Tales is a unique programme which has been developed to equip care-experienced young adults from London boroughs with the skills to devise and deliver workshops at the Museum for family groups. The programme provides paid employment and valuable life skills, including public speaking, critical and creative thinking, and people management, as well as skills in art and creative expression. The Duchess of Cambridge previously visited the programme in 2017 and 2019.