The Prince of Wales to Visit West Midlands

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to service users during a visit to Turning Point Scotland's social care centre in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, to hear about the vital support that they provide to those with complex needs, including addiction and mental health challenges, May 24, 2021.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to service users during a visit to Turning Point Scotland's social care centre in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, to hear about the vital support that they provide to those with complex needs, including addiction and mental health challenges, May 24, 2021.

THE PRINCE OF WALES WILL VISIT THE WEST MIDLANDS

Thursday 25th April 2024

The Prince of Wales will visit the West Midlands on Thursday 25th April to learn about initiatives across the region that are supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing.

His Royal Highness will see a wide range of projects which support positive mental health whilst in the area, ranging from those that support young people through education and development, to those which give a second chance to people battling homelessness and addiction.

Engagement 1:

The Prince of Wales will visit St. Michael’s Church of England High School in Sandwell to learn about the award-winning student-led initiatives available to pupils to support their mental health and wellbeing.

The Prince was initially invited to visit the school in a letter posted on X by twelve-year-old Freddie Hadley last October. Whilst unable to visit at the time, His Royal Highness responded to the letter with a message on X on World Mental Health Day, commending Freddie and St. Michael’s School on their work to tackle mental health challenges faced by pupils.

St. Michael’s employs a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing and in May 2022 achieved a gold standard award by the Carnegie Centre of Excellent for Mental Health in Schools. The school launched ‘Student Voice’ in 2012, consisting of up to 100 students who meet at lunchtimes, after school, in the evenings and during school periods to develop initiatives ranging from fundraising to mental health, including working with elderly members of the community. The school’s team of enthusiastic student Wellbeing Ambassadors also help design and implement a range of initiatives to support students.

Whilst on site, the Prince will meet representatives of Student Voice and learn about the various initiatives set up at the school to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. His Royal Highness will also join a session with the Matrix Project which was set up to shine a spotlight on male mental health and sees boys aged 11-14 meet weekly to develop ideas and projects to tackle mental health challenges. The group launched the #AmIManlyEnough campaign last year to tackle the stigma around male mental health and encourage men and boys to communicate more about their feelings.

Finally, the Prince will join a workshop with a larger group of students who are discussing a range of issues related to mental health and wellbeing, including designing their own calm kits and their dream wellbeing hub.

Engagement 2:

The Prince of Wales will visit Woodgate Valley Urban Farm, a city farm dedicated to supporting children and young people struggling to access education and those experiencing mental health challenges.

Based on a six-acre site of farm, woodlands and orchards, Woodgate Valley Farm runs a range of therapeutic programmes for children involving children and nature. The farm is home to a variety of animals including Grey Face Dartmoor Sheep, whose upkeep forms a key part of the programmes offered. Participants are provided one-to-one support whilst on-site, and results have shown that children regularly visiting the farm see a marked improvement in their mental health and wellbeing.

Currently funded by the National Lottery, the farm supports small groups currently out of education as well as sibling groups from a local children’s hospice. Last year the organisation ran the All Age Autism project, funded by the NHS and Birmingham and Solihull Councils, which provided weekly sessions for children with a diagnosis of or self-identify as autistic.

Whilst on site, the Prince will meet staff and volunteers and be taken on a tour. He will hear about the work they do with children and will join a group of participants in some of their regular programmed activities.

Engagement 3:

The Prince of Wales will officially open a new employment skills training and community outreach centre for Betel UK, a charity for people affected by homelessness and addiction.

The new one-of-a-kind facility, Anchor Point, spans 45,000-square-foot and is home to six social enterprises aimed at providing work and training to those overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. Training up to sixty people, the social enterprises on site include an already popular café, a theatre, and a beauty salon. Also, the location of the charity’s national headquarters, the site serves as a commercial arm for the charity with many of the spaces available to rent for corporate and private events.

Upon arrival, the Prince will hear from some of those who have been supported by Betel with their journey to recovery and employment. His Royal Highness will also tour the new facility, including the Rising Café which is open to the public.

Betel UK is an independent Christian charity for men, women and families affected by drug and alcohol addiction and homelessness. It opened its first residence in Birmingham 28 years ago and now has 13 recovery residences in eleven urban areas in England and Scotland. More than 50% of the 14,000 people Betel has helped come to them facing some form of homelessness, including living directly on the streets and arriving straight from release from prison.

As well as Birmingham, Betel operates centres in Nottingham, Derby, Manchester, Hexham and Motherwell, including five houses for female residents. At their residences, which aim to return people to healthy independent lives, Betel offers structured, family-like environments where there is consistent peer-support for residents. The Prince and Princess of Wales previously visited one of Betel’s other café’s inside Coventry Cathedral in January 2018.

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