The Duchess of Cambridge helped a mother of two pick out items from a baby bank, as she praised volunteers for their continued support of the community during the cost-of-living crisis.
Kate met the mother during a visit to the Little Village hub, which provides clothing, toiletries, toys and even buggies to parents in need, in Brent, north-west London on Wednesday.
The mother, named only as Sara, spoke to the duchess about the support she has received from the centre, which was particularly vital when she was pregnant with her first child during the coronavirus pandemic.
The duchess then knelt down to greet Sara’s two children, who are three and 18-months’ old, who were sitting in their buggy.
“You forget how tiny they are!” Kate exclaimed, and said to the mother: “I remember those days.”
She added: “It’s a busy time, but so wonderful.”
The duchess wore business-like black trousers and a cream tailored jacket with matching clutch bag as she was greeted by Sophie Livingstone, the chief executive of Little Village.
She was given a tour of the centre as she heard about its work supporting families, both by equipping them with essential items for babies and children up to the age of five, but also by linking them with key services including mental health support.
As she went around the range of clothes and shoes on offer for babies, she picked up a pair of navy blue lace-up baby shoes, remarking that she felt surprised when looking at baby shoes that “Louis did fit in those once!”.
The duchess later helped Sara pick out some children’s books, and pulled out Michael Rosen’s We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, remarking that it was a favourite among her children.
“They have to go through the mud and then through the water,” she explained.
Sara said afterwards that the duchess was, “very kind, very sweet and very lovely.
“She made everything very easy for me and I’m very happy that I met her.”
She added that the volunteers at the baby bank were her “second family” and “they helped me with everything.
“I’m very happy that I met all the girls here and that I’m part of the Little Village.”
Kate then posed for a photograph with staff and volunteers at the centre in front of a wall of stuffed toys, before speaking to supporters of the centre.
These included celebrity hair stylist John Frieda and founder of residential rental company Uncle, Ryan Prince, who offered the Little Village charity the space for free.
Chief executive Ms Livingstone said that Kate’s visit was really important for the baby bank, adding: “She’s got a track record of wanting to support the early years and that really came across in the conversations and how interested she was in the nuts and bolts of what we’re doing.”
She added that the duchess had asked more specifically about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on demand amongst new mothers, and said: “She was asking, ‘what are you seeing?’
“And the truth is we’re seeing increased demand and our only limit is our capacity to support families.
“I suspect, if we could increase our capacity, we’d be supporting a lot more families because the demand, the need and the demand, is huge.”
Ms Livingstone estimates that Little Village will be supporting 7,000 children in their eight locations across London by the end of the year.