Friday, 15 January 2021

The Cambridges Discuss Bereavement Support with Just B

With a return to virtual engagements for the Royal family for the time being, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared their first joint Zoom call of 2021 tonight. The conversation with Just B focused on the mental health and wellbeing and of frontline workers during the pandemic.

Just ‘B’ offers professional emotional wellbeing and bereavement support to children and adults across the communities of North Yorkshire, as well as national support for frontline staff following increased need since the pandemic began. Their bereavement support is a tailored approach crafted in the knowledge every single experience is different.

It is one of several charities receiving financial support from the Royal Foundation's COVID-19 response fund. The bespoke fund was announced in July, coinciding with an engagement in Norfolk for frontline workers. Just B's helpline now operates seven days per week from 8 am to 8 pm.

We've mentioned rising rates of infection in the UK, rates which led to restrictions just before Christmas (which thwarted the Cambridges' plans to spend the holiday with the Middletons). It's been a progressively difficult period with the spread of a new more transmissible variant and enormous pressures on the NHS across the UK. These have led to additional problems, exhaustion and emotional stress for those providing care.

Vanity Fair reports:

'Just ‘B’ counsellors Tony Collins and Caroline Francis spoke to the Duke and Duchess about the toll that the pandemic is having on frontline staff, with service users often citing exhaustion and the relentless nature of the crisis as their reasons for calling. Other participants in the call included  Carly Kennard, Emergency Call Coordinator, London Ambulance Service; Jules Lockett, Emergency Operations Centre Training Lead, London Ambulance Service; Conal Devitt, Social Prescribing Link Worker, Formby Primary Care Network;  Manal Sadik, Associate Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Widening Participation, Guys and St Thomas’; Phil Spencer, Wellbeing Inspector, Cleveland Police; Tony Collins, Just ‘B’ volunteer helpline call handler and CEO of North Yorkshire Hospice Care (NYCC); and Caroline Francis, Just ‘B’ helpline support worker and nurse at North Yorkshire Hospice Care (NYCC).'

The Duchess asked those on the call how the service has helped them. William said, "This is an unprecedented time we are all facing. I think what really needs to be nailed home right now is that this is like nothing before that anyone has ever seen -- particularly this third wave we are going through right now."

People writes:

'In a video chat with several social care professionals and emergency responders, William and Kate heard about the difficult calls that they are receiving. "The phrases and the words we hear time and time again are 'exhaustion,' 'relentless,' 'there's so much death, when is it going to finish,'" Tony Collins told the couple.

"That struck a chord," Collins tells PEOPLE.

Collins is a volunteer helpline call handler for Hospice UK's "Just B" phone service and is also CEO of North Yorkshire Hospice Care, (NYCC) .

Collins adds, "We – being society – need to take responsibility to make sure people are okay. When people use the helplines and other procedures that are available to them, they have already taken a big step, but there are still an awful lot who won't take that step."

The Duchess sported her grey Smythe blazer, first worn in 2018 for a Coach Core engagement.


The glen check/black corduroy, tailored, single-breasted silhouette has a traditional riding blazer feel, featuring a contrast collar, flattering pocket flaps and oversized leather buttons. It retails for $795 at Smythe.

A closer look at the buttons.

I hope you all have a great weekend. A word of thanks for the very kind responses to the Year in Review posts. They are deeply appreciated.

18 comments:

  1. Valerie in Arizona16 January 2021 at 01:22

    Thank you for the heads up about the interview Charlotte! I am going to see if I can find the full interview somewhere. I really wanted to hear what they all had to say. We are in terrible shape here in Arizona with no restrictions except for mask wearing. Today someone said "Oh, well, eventually enough people will have had it that there will be herd immunity." Wow, that's the attitude. My heart goes out to the hospital workers in Tucson and Phoenix; no one is listening to them sadly.

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    1. So sad to read this Valerie. My heart goes out to you all. We are so lucky here in New Zealand to be able to go about our daily lives with very few restriction now, as we have no community transmission at the moment and no deaths for many months. (25 deaths since last February.) The strict quarantine on new arrivals from overseas has helped tremendously here. We realise that our good fortune is mainly due to our geographic isolation like Australia and many of the other islands in the South Pacific that have come off comparatively lightly. Such a pity that our fellow Polynesian territory - Hawaii has not managed to be as lucky, but I suppose that is the problem of being part of a much larger country with many citizens not wanting to follow restrictive rules and still travelling freely. My prayers are that soon the tide will soon turn and the various vacines will begin to make a real difference. Love from us all down under.

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  2. Zora from Prague16 January 2021 at 12:59

    It's so good to read about William and Kate's support for "Just B" and the frontline workers. One can clearly see from the video that they know exactly how important it is that people who have been touched with so much sadness and bereavement get support. It's crucial to call out for help, even if you are in a helping profession - to take that step and let other people help you. The Cambridges are very compassionate and caring.
    On the fashion note, I love Kate's look - both the blazer and her hair.
    Thank you so much for the post, Charlotte!

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  3. Sadly this pandemic goes on way to long. This situation put so much stress on people, not just frontline workers, no matter what the job is, also on families children seniors and especially people with problems, prior to the pandemic. I am glad they are speaking up and listen. Just speaking to someone other than family is a part of making it easier on the people suffering.

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  4. Thank you Charlotte for keeping us updated. I have never seen Kate look more beautiful! She and William continue to carry on their work despite the obstacles from this pandemic. I love this blog because of your fair and complete coverage of my two favorite royals, Charlotte.

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    1. Thank you Sheila for expressing so beautifully what I couldn't find the words to express. :)

      Becca USA

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  5. Great engagement. Catherine looks polished and professional yet approachable. Love the jacket, so versatile. On a side note from the shots it looks like they have plenty of house plants at their home. Wonder what room that is.

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  6. Great to see the Duke and Duchess back at work. Just b is a very important thing for them to focus on. The work done by all on the front line as being amazing. Of course they are carrying and taking home some of the heartbreaking scenes at work. It's been a very hard year for all of us, some more than most. Mental health is so precious. That's why the work being done to highlight this by the Duke and Duchess is vital. No one should be alone or feel alone during this. There is plenty of support out there if you can't turn to family or friends. Pick up the phone and reach out. We have more hope this year than last. Things will get better now with vacancies. Charlotte, I would like to wish you and all your family a happy new year and a better one. I would also like to thank you for all your hard work on the blog. You have played a very positive part of this pandemic, by highlighting the projects the Duchess is working on.

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  7. Beautifully done, very caring conversation. I'm thankful that this service is available. She and William are a perfect balance of easygoing ut concerned, informed, and professional, as usual.
    And on a side note, how on earth does Kate manage to consistantly make clothing look even better than the models do? What a beauty she is.

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    1. Right!? :) I believe it's one of her super powers! :)

      Becca USA

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    2. Every "Kate's look" is much like a scene from Pretty Woman. On the other hand, let's hope they'll make it here in any sort of engagement that we can see soon.

      Shona USA

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  8. Tammy from California17 January 2021 at 20:39

    Such an important cause right now. This pandemic is essentially like going to war for healthcare workers. I imagine we will see PTSD in some of these people. A sad state the world is in.

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  9. I love how William opened up. He really does have such a valuable perspective from his years with the air ambulance. On a more superficial note.... I love having a peak into their calm, beautiful & serene home. :)

    Becca USA

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    1. Their home is most inspiring indeed :) - funny i met the duchess a long time ago shopping in Zara Home, this was just before their nuptials. I was a store assistant for ZARA at the time. I love her choice of interior, who wouldn't!

      Serena UK

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  10. thank you charlotte i love the duke and duchess Cambridge doing work despite the pandemic hits

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  11. This may be a duplicate.

    Hee hee! In my comment above I mentioned seeing houseplants in their country home. When I typed in Duchess Kate tonight at least 3 articles popped up talking about seeing the Cambridges home in the video. :):)

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  12. Susan in Florida21 January 2021 at 15:23

    This is good reminder we aren’t alone , even if don’t live in the UK. It’s hard enough dealing with the pandemic and grief for those who died from it , let alone the loss from other causes. My heart goes out to the healthcare workers , they are bearing so much stress right now.

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  13. Elsa (Massachusetts)22 January 2021 at 20:33

    Agree totally there Susan. When will it all end?

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