The Duchess of Cambridge has spoken about how Prince George is growing up fast, as she visited an innovative service supporting young parents.
Kate met Chloe Koroma, 22, who is helped by the voluntary home visiting programme Family Nurse Partnership (FNP), during a visit to a health centre in Camberwell, south London.
Ms Koroma’s four-year-old son Oliver presented the duchess with a posy when she first arrived, and she later sat down with other parents to chat with Kate about the help they receive from the service.
The full-time mother said later: “It was lovely meeting the duchess. She asked how old Oliver is and what football shirt he was wearing.
“She said children grow up so quickly and she can’t believe George is six already.”
George was pictured walking into school with his parents on September 5, with little sister Princess Charlotte, four, starting her first day in the classroom.
Kate has an interest in the early years development of children and made the visit to learn more about the FNP initiative, which partners mothers with a specially-trained family nurse who visits them regularly, from early pregnancy until their child is two.
The programme helps young mothers to have a healthy pregnancy, improve their child’s health and development, and reach their goals and aspirations.
Ms Koroma, whose son was wearing a Huddersfield Town top as his uncle Josh plays for the team, added: “My nurse Debbie was a fantastic support throughout my pregnancy. She was always there for me and gave me lots of advice and guidance.
“I have biopolar and following the pregnancy I suffered from postnatal depression so I really appreciated her support. I no longer use the service but I’m still in touch with Debbie as she was a big part of my life.”
Much of Kate’s visit was conducted in private so she could discuss in confidence the circumstances of the parents helped by the FNP programme, which was established in 2007.
She also chatted to senior figures from the project during a roundtable discussion, and was told about the practical help parents receive that puts the academic theory of early years development into practice.
Lynne Reed, the FNP’s national head of clinical quality improvement, said of the service: “It’s addressing inequality fundamentally, so that the young women who are here have the best chance, and we would like to think the best chance as a mother-to-be and young mother and young family who had very different life experiences.”
FNP is delivered in around 70 areas across England and each local team features specially-trained family nurse supervisors, family nurses, and quality support officers.
Kate also met the Southwark Family Nurse Partnership team during her visit to the Sunshine House Children and Young People’s Health and Development Centre, where the staff are based.
The duchess is patron of the children’s hospital Evelina London, which delivers the FNP initiative in the London borough of Southwark.