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The Duchess of Cambridge visits the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Her Royal Highness (HRH) Duchess of Cambridge visited the AAnna Freud National Centre for Children and Families on Thursday this week.


HRH had the opportunity to hear about how we’re working to lead a step change in children's and young people's mental health care and was guided through the model of our planned new Anna Freud Centre, which will bring together the best people and organisations in neuroscience, mental health and education to work with children and their families. 

A key focus of the new Anna Freud Centre will be developing and testing new treatments, interventions and approaches informed by the most recent scientific discoveries to deliver better mental health services on a local, national and international level. 

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said: “It all starts in childhood. We can do something in childhood but we fail a large number of children. …In bringing attention to child mental health she is doing one of the most important things she can do for this country." 


The Duchess then had a tour of our unique Family School - where mental health support is completely integrated into children’s education and where the entire family is supported to help the child fully benefit from their learning opportunities. 

She participated in a range of activities, including the 'SmartGym' programme which combines technology and sports psychology. It aims to build resilience, develop emotional skills and improve academic performance in children with emotional and behavioural problems.

One pupil at the school said: “She nearly beat my average but she didn’t do it and she was in heels….It was a good experience and I think I will remember it for quite a while.”

Another pupil said: “It was the dream of a lifetime.”

The School is currently on a temporary site at Kings Cross but will be situated at the heart of the planned centre for excellence, which we hope to complete in 2018. We need to raise an additional £5 million to make the new Anna Freud Centre a reality.