Kate Middleton wears face mask during visit to Sheffield baby bank

The Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a face mask, during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics Sheffield. Baby Basics is a volunteer project supporting families in need struggling to provide for their newborns. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/PA Images

The Duchess of Cambridge has worn a face mask at a royal event for the first time as she visited a baby bank in South Yorkshire.

Kate Middleton spoke to volunteers and parents at Baby Basics in Sheffield - a charity which provides essential items to mothers in need like nappies and infant clothes.

The duchess' tour highlighted her efforts spearheading a donation drive which has seen shops like John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco give more than 10,000 new goods to baby banks across the country.

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets during a visit to Baby Basics Sheffield. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/PA Images

During the event, Kate put on a floral face mask, a move which shows how the monarchy are adhering to coronavirus guidelines like the rest of the country.

The duchess also revealed how stories of families struggling during lockdown had previously moved her to tears.

It can get very emotional. I remember a couple of the families I met from King's Lynn and I went home and literally burst into tears, their stories were so moving. The struggles they have gone through, the bravery they have shown ... in extraordinary circumstances. Helping their families through extraordinary times.

The Duchess of Cambridge

Baby banks have proved to be a lifeline for many parents during the coronavirus crisis, but have found their services under increasing pressure due to demand and because they cannot accept second hand donations.

Hearing of this, Kate - who has also previously visited Baby Basics in West Norfolk - decided to see if she could help and has encouraged donations from 19 brands and high street retailers to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK.

The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics Sheffield. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/PA Images

Their workforce is primarily volunteers and they receive referrals from services like health visitors, midwives and social workers.

Kate helped unpack donations including clothes and toys during her visit to Baby Basics UK in Sheffield, before talking to parents about how baby banks have provided them with invaluable support when they have needed it most.

Often in a world where there is a lot of judgment and stereotyping about being poor, that additional stress can be even more difficult for parents who are doing amazing things to keep their families going with such strength, such determination.

Cat Ross, chief executive officer of Baby Basics

At the height of the lockdown, Kate's children were pictured joining in with the weekly applause for carers and delivering food to the vulnerable on the Queen's Sandringham estate.

The duchess said: "It's been wonderful during lockdown, hasn't it?

"About the way everyone has been busy knitting away, and actually it is those small volunteering acts that everyone can contribute to, that make such a difference.

"That inter-generational support system has been amazing. Knowing that you can make such a big difference to another family is wonderful."