1 Oct 2015

The Children's Society yesterday welcomed a very special visitor – by royal appointment.

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester visited us at our Manchester home, The Zion Centre, on Stretford Road, Hulme, to learn more about our work supporting vulnerable children.

The Duchess is our Royal President and has supported our vital work for more than 30 years.

During her visit, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, introduced The Duchess to The Children’s Society’s chief executive, Matthew Reed, North West Area Director Rob Jackson and Greater Manchester Programme Manager, Paul Maher.

The Duchess talked to local service managers for our missing from home teams which help children in Manchester, Rochdale and Salford, our emotional health and well-being team which works with children and families in Manchester, Rochdale, Oldham and Bury, and our children’s rights team which supports young people in care in Oldham and Rochdale.

She met young people who are currently receiving help from the children’s rights and Safe In The City missing from home services.

And she was introduced to the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Paul Murphy, Lady Mayoress, Anita Murphy, and the managers of The Zion Centre, which is run by the Big Life group of social businesses and charities.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “We deeply appreciate the support Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester has offered as our Royal President over the years so it was a great thrill to welcome her to visit our services in Greater Manchester.

“I hope that during her visit The Duchess enjoyed meeting our staff and young people and got a sense of how our services can make a huge difference to young people at really difficult times in their lives.”

Paul Maher, Greater Manchester Programme Manager for The Children’s Society, said: “Our programmes offer much-needed help to children including those in care, those at risk of going missing and being sexually exploited and those who need emotional support due to difficulties in their lives.

“The Duchess’ support underlines the importance of this work and I’m sure our staff and the young people who benefit from our services will take inspiration from her visit.”

Sarah Conway, 16, one of the young people supported by The Children’s Society’s Safe in the City service for young people at risk of going missing in Greater Manchester, said: “The Duchess was very articulate and warm.

“She asked me what would happen when I ran away from home and how young people benefited from The Children’s Society’s support.

“The Duchess was very interested in the charity’s work and how it had helped me.”

The Duchess has previously spoken about her support for charitable causes. She said: “Charity work in Great Britain is a tradition. I don’t think I have a friend who has not involved him or herself somehow or other.

“How far back this tradition goes, I am not sure - it is one of the major aspects which makes me very proud to be British.”

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester is married to The Duke of Gloucester, formerly known as Prince Richard, who is a first cousin of The Queen.

Media enquiries

For more information, please call Rob Devey in The Children’s Society’s media team on 0161 763 2172 or 07814 525918 or email rob.devey@childrenssociety.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1) The Duchess was formally appointed Royal President of The Children’s Society in 1999.

2) The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.