The Duchess of Cambridge Brings Early Years Survey to Northern Ireland



Wednesday 12th February 2020

The Duchess of Cambridge is today visiting the Ark Open Farm near Belfast, as part of her tour of the UK to promote her landmark survey on the early years, ‘5 Big Questions on the Under-Fives’.

During her visit to the farm, Her Royal Highness will speak to local parents and grandparents about the themes covered in her survey, which closes on 21st February. The Duchess will hear their thoughts on the most important factors that ensure children become happy adults and the role of parents and society in ensuring children have the best possible start in life.

The Ark Open Farm opened in 1990 as one of the first open farms in Northern Ireland. Having initially specialised in rare breeds of farm animals, the farm has now developed a number of play areas and activities for children. Open farms such as this are important in providing places in the community for family members of all generations to spend quality time together, while allowing children to benefit from spending time outdoors.

Last month, the Duchess visited Birmingham, Cardiff, Woking and London to promote her survey and heard from people across communities about their thoughts on how experiences in the early years can impact upon later life.

Conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of The Royal Foundation, the survey contains five short questions and aims to spark a national conversation on the early years that will ultimately help bring about positive, lasting change for generations to come.

It follows eight years of work by the Duchess of Cambridge, during which she has explored how experiences in early childhood often lie at the root of the hardest social challenges the country faces today. Her Royal Highness has spent time meeting with families across the country and hearing about the issues they deal with day-to-day, as well as speaking to academics, experts, organisations and practitioners. In May 2018, the Duchess convened a steering group of experts to focus on how to bring about positive, lasting change in this area.

The survey is designed to bring together the thoughts of as many people as possible – recognising that everyone has a role in ensuring strong, healthy foundations for the youngest in our society that will positively affect their lifelong outcomes. The findings should provide a vital source of information for the early years sector, helping it to better understand public perceptions of the importance of the early years, and the first-hand experiences of parents, families and carers. This public feedback will also help to focus Her Royal Highness’ work through The Royal Foundation as she endeavours to provide children across the UK with the best foundations to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

The survey can be found here:

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