During the Easter weekend, The Duke of Sussex, conducted a personal video call with families caring for seriously ill children at home.

The Duke of Sussex made the video call, supported by the charity WellChild, to understand their challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.

During the call, The Duke heard about the challenges of social isolation and the fears of families reliant on carers coming into their homes to help with the round-the-clock, complex medical care that their children need.

He also heard how many who have not been included on ‘vulnerable’ lists were struggling to access support and basic supplies.

Leanne Cooper from Lincoln, whose 13-year-old daughter Sophie has Cerebral palsy, Dystonia, Scoliosis and multiple complex medical needs said:

Leanne Cooper from Lincoln and 13-year-old daughter Sophie Credit: WellChild

There is a lot of information out there, but not a lot for vulnerable families and certainly not for children with complex medical needs.

Leanne Cooper

In particular, the Duke heard how some families were struggling to be recognised on ‘vulnerable’ lists, causing difficulties in accessing supplies, from food to PPE.

He also heard how families across the country were giving mutual emotional support to one another through the charity’s online community, the WellChild Family Tree.

The Duke, who has been Patron of WellChild for more than 10 years, asked about how the charity, which is totally reliant on voluntary funding, was coping following income lost through the cancellation, or postponement of key fundraising events and activities.

In a touching moment, The Duke asked to see the children and sent a message of encouragement to the families and their children, who had all joined the call.

The Duke said:

Full respect to every single one of you. This is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you. I know that WellChild are doing everything they can to support you.

The Duke of Sussex