Royal family: Prince and Princess of Wales visit gardens and meet communities in south Wales
The Prince and Princess of Wales have arrived in Wales to show their support for local mental health initiatives in the country ahead of St David's Day.
William and Kate arrived first visited a therapy garden which will be developed at Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre near the town of Pontyclun to mark the announcement of the social enterprise partnership with the The Royal Foundation.
Working with Life at No.27, a horticultural therapy and mental health counselling provider which has delivered its services for over 40 years, it's hoped a further six gardens will eventually be created to offer mental health support in south Wales.
The Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre, which offers treatment for those with alcohol and drug dependencies, will provide free and low-cost gardening therapy and mental health support sessions for its users and their families.
The royal couple were in the crowds at the Principality Stadium during Wales' latest Six Nations clash at the weekend. The Princess of Wales cheered England on to a victory over Wales – supported by her husband the Prince of Wales.
William is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, while Kate is patron of the Rugby Football Union – having taken over the role from the Duke of Sussex a year ago.
The final score of Wales 10-20 England meant the home side suffered their third successive Six Nations defeat since Warren Gatland returned as head coach.
During Tuesday's visit, William and Kate will hear from clients at the Centre and their families about how the work helps those struggling with the effects of addiction and about a programme for people with alcohol-related brain damage.
Annabelle Padwick, founder of Life at No.27, said gardens were essential for those facing mental health difficulties: “Our unique therapy allotments and gardens are vital as they offer a safe environment for those experiencing mental ill health, to process and explore difficult experiences with trained therapists while at the same time learning new skills.
“Working with The Prince and Princess of Wales is so important as their support enables us to collaboratively raise awareness of the work we do, the growing vital need that we aim to meet and how much the experiences and relationships we have can shape our future”, she added.
Residents from the wider community, who are experiencing mental ill health, low confidence or isolation, will also eventually be given access to the garden through GP referrals.
The Royal Foundation said the initiative was part of a series of projects designed to leave a “lasting impact” in the communities which the couple visit on royal engagements.
Amanda Berry, chief executive of The Royal Foundation, explained: “Their Royal Highnesses continue to prioritise our society’s mental health and spending time in nature is known to have a range of benefits, including reducing depression and anxiety.”
During the visit, the Prince and Princess of Wales also visited a leisure and fitness centre in Aberavon to hear how sport and exercise can support mental health and wellbeing, whilst meeting Welsh athletes such as discus thrower Harrison Walsh and sprinter Hannah Brier.
A tour of the Wales Air Ambulance headquarters in Llanelli is also planned. The charity, which was founded in 2001, has completed over 43,000 missions. Their Royal Highnesses will meet emergency workers, volunteers and supporters and hear about their recent operations across Wales.