Today's engagement is one of a number the Duchess, who is eight months pregnant, has carried out this month. We hear she may carry out another one before she officially takes her maternity leave before the arrival of her second child next month (more on that further down).
The Duchess attended a briefing with the organisation's chief executive and the centre’s manager. A very interested Kate heard about the work the charity does to support families and improve their confidence.
Home-Start is a national family support charity that helps parents to build better lives for their children. Volunteers provide support and friendship to more than 29,170 families every year. They have more than 288 local Home-Starts working in communities across the UK and with families on British Forces bases in Germany and Cyprus.
They provide universal services to families with children under five, with some services targeted at the most disadvantaged and vulnerable families in order to improve outcomes for children and to reduce the inequalities gap. Services cater for emotional and physical support, illness, disability and isolation.
Why does the organisation specifically focus on the first five years? "The five years between birth and school are vital for a child’s development. What goes on inside a family during these years strongly determines the opportunities and life chances children have. Children who are raised in a stable, loving family environment are more likely to have a positive and healthy future."
There are a multitude of ways to get involved and support the charity: click here to donate, here to find out about fundraising and volunteering opportunities and here to visit the online shop.
Speaking ahead of the royal visit Rob Parkinson, chief executive of Home-Start UK said,
“We are delighted that the Duchess wants to hear about the challenges that parents of other young children can face and learn how Home-Start is helping them. Without support, the pressures caused by isolation, mental ill health, multiple births, bereavement, disability, poor housing or financial stress can have a devastating effect on families.
What the Duchess sees in Greenwich represents the incredible work that is done by hundreds of local Home-Starts up and down the country. Home-Start’s work with the Royal Borough of Greenwich at four of its 24 children’s centres is a wonderful example of how Home-Start links families into their local communities across the UK.”
Her Royal Highness then attended a coffee morning where she met families who have been supported by Home-Start and listened to their experiences. The Duchess viewed a volunteer training session in which volunteers are taught how best to offer practical and emotional support in a family’s home to help children make the most of nursery or school.
Kate admires three-month-old Franchesca.
Kate visited the on-site Together for Twos crèche to meet families and staff.
Reporter Rebecca English said Kate was "enchanted" by a card made for her by the children.
The centre is one of four run by Home-Start on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
'Volunteer Christie Osborne, 49, was among those the Duchess sat and spoke to at the coffee morning.
Ms Osborne said: “I told her she is beautiful and that she’s got a tiny little bump. I asked when her baby is due and she said mid-to-end of April.'
Kate received a small gift and flowers before she leaving saying 'it's been absolutely wonderful'
Kate's been on something of a roll lately, sartorially speaking, and today was no exception. The Duchess looked effortlessly stylish in a polka-dot print dress by online retailer ASOS. The Maternity Exclusive Wrap Skater Dress in Spot Print features three-quarter sleeves, a Deep V neckline and empire seam. It's available for £35 at ASOS with Free Shipping Worldwide.
The Duchess has long been a fan of spot print dresses. Many will recall the polka-dot Topshop Florence dress she wore during her first pregnancy and of course the bespoke Jenny Packham frock she chose when leaving St. Mary's Hospital with Prince George.
As of writing Kate's dress has sold out, The Mirror reports it will be back in stock next week. Keep an eye here if you're interested in purchasing one.
In the meantime never fear, ASOS has a selection of spot print dresses in stock at present. First, three other maternity styles: the remarkably similar Skater Dress with shorter sleeves, the Skater Dress in Animal Spot Print and the gorgeous Crossover Skater Dress in navy and pink.
Non-maternity dresses available in the popular print include the Skater Dress with Lace Hem (reduced from £40 to £16), the Black and White Skater Dress and the ASOS Curve Debutante Dress.
Now moving on to Kate's coat.
We last saw the Duchess wearing the sleek black coat for a night out in Mayfair in 2012 (See our original post here). Fashion sleuths searched endlessly for the garment, however it was never identified - until today. The Palace confirmed it was made by her private dressmaker.
The Duchess wore her Stuart Weitzman Power Pumps.
And carried her Mulberry Bayswater Clutch again. It's available in a couple of colourways for £495 at Selfridges.
Kate accessorised with her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch. The piece is available at Saks Fifth Avenue for $6350.
Kate completed the look with her Kiki McDonough morganite cushion cut earrings and Mappin and Webb Fortune pendant.
You can view a video here.
It was a lovely engagement. Kate thoroughly enjoys working with children and it shows in each photo. I thought she looked wonderful today, mixing the ASOS dress with her popular coat.
Also today, Prince William accompanied the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
|Richard Palmer Twitter Feed|
It's the first time William has accompanied his grandmother at such an event. Reporters noted it's an important part of his royal training for his future role.
|The British Monarchy Twitter Feed|
Finally, As we mentioned earlier in the post, we will see Kate again before she takes maternity leave. This evening, Kensington Palace just confirmed on Friday 27 March the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will carry out three engagements in South London.
Engagement 1 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Stephen Lawrence Centre, 39 Brookmill Road, London SE8, to tour the facility and meet Charitable Trust members.
Engagement 2 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit XLP at Christ Church, 1 Highland Road, London SE19.
XLP stands for “The eXceL Project” a charity working to create positive futures for young people from inner London boroughs. In 1996, in response to a stabbing in a school playground, the school’s headmaster asked Patrick Regan, a local church based youth worker, to come into the school and work with their students and teachers to help with difficult behavioural issues.
Engagement 3 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit an XLP community bus and the XLP mobile recording studio on the Hazel Grove Estate, Sydenham, London SE26.
Their Royal Highnesses will view the facilities provided on the XL-R8 Community Bus Project where they will meet a group of young people from across the London boroughs who have engaged with XLP projects over a number of years and hear about some of the issues they face
These engagements are expected to be Kate's last before the baby arrives!