The Duchess of Cambridge visits a community parental support project


The Duchess of Cambridge visited PACT (Parents and Children Together) in Southwark today to learn more about how communities can support parents and their families with their mental wellbeing and improve the health and development outcomes for young children.

Set up by Citizens UK in 2014, PACT is a community-led social support project which aims to build a confident, resilient community of parents who can give their children the best start in life whatever their circumstances. It was initiated in Southwark after parents, community and faith leaders identified mental health issues and isolation as the biggest challenges impacting on their ability to parent and give their children the best start in life. The project has since expanded to Leeds and Newcastle. 

During her visit, The Duchess met volunteers and attendees of PACT Southwark’s weekly MumSpace group, which provides a welcoming space for local parents to discuss relevant issues and work through any challenges they are facing. MumSpace is one of many activities run by the organisation to reach parents who might not otherwise have access to support. 

Her Royal Highness also met a health visitor who regularly attends the group to provide advice and signposting to other services, before joining a cooking workshop with parents and children. 

Early evidence from an evaluation conducted by King’s College in 2020 suggested that the parent-led model used by PACT improves parental mental wellbeing, reduces social isolation, and improves child language outcomes, while project data shows it has also been successful in supporting families that public services often find difficult to reach. They found that 40% of the mothers who came to the Mumspace group were at the threshold of getting some form of mental health intervention, but after 6 months 68% had fully recovered.