The Foundation Years Trust is very proud to have HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as it's national Patron and delighted that this patronage was extended in April 2018 for a further 3 years.
The Duchess of Cornwall has a long-standing commitment to working with organisations that help support young people and give children the help they need at an early stage in their life. Her Royal Highness said: "Every child deserves a good start in life, and we know that the early years of childhood are crucial in so many ways. We must do all we can to ensure that those early years provide a firm foundation for each child to flourish and fulfill their true potential."
A Royal Garden Party
Linked to our Patronage, in May 2019, Anna-Louise and Janice Darkes-Sutcliffe, one of our Trustees, attended a Royal Garden party at Buckingham Palace.
It was a great opportunity to tel everyone what an amazing job FYT and our parents are doing in Wirral.
Throughout her Patronage, the children in our groups have kept in touch with The Duchess with Christmas cards and a 'special' birthday card on her 70th birthday. Their card showed balloons for every year, made with their thumb prints, with a horse, as we knew she loved horses. HRH replied with a lovely thank you letter, pictured here with Ava, who drew the horse.
The children have also had fun each year making Christmas cards for her and love to see the thank you messages which she sends back to them.
House of Lords Reception
In July 2016, one of our former Trustees, Lord Bridges of Headley MBE, kindly hosted an event at the House of Lords, which was attended by our Patron, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, our Vice Patrons, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach and the Rt Hon Frank Field MP.
The Reception was a celebration of FYT’s work to date and an opportunity to recognise the commitment of the families we work with in Birkenhead. It was generously sponsored by McColl’s Retail Group. Five parents and two Group Leaders had a trip down to London, with a visit to the Tower of London which had been kindly sponsored by HRH, followed by the Reception at the House of Lords.
The event was also attended by our donors, a number of Peers, MPs, academics and professionals with interest in the early years as well as groups and individuals who are interested in FYT’s work and may consider giving us funding. About 60 people were there and the occasion provided an excellent opportunity for the Duchess to personally pass on her thanks to our donors for their significant contributions to our programmes as well as to chat to everyone else – especially the parents. It gave our donors the opportunity to gain a good understanding of FYT’s work from the perspective of some of the people participating in our groups.
The parents were delighted to have the chance to meet and talk to so many people who were interested in what they were doing, especially our Patron who made sure she made time to chat to each of them about their experiences and their perspective on their children’s development. One of them, Nicky Joyce said “Everyone wanted to talk to us and hear what we had to say. People listened and took on board what we told them. “It was like we were the most important people in the room”.
A Royal Visit to Birkenhead
On the 14th May 2015, The Duchess visited Birkenhead to see for herself the work the Foundation Years Trust is doing and find out more. She spent time with local families supported by the Trust in our groups at Manor Primary School and also met with families and their volunteers from ‘Bump-Start’, a project that supports expectant mums from the 20th week of pregnancy until their baby is six months old.
As an avid reader, Her Royal Highness has a particular interest in promoting the benefits of reading to both adults and children. During her visit The Duchess joined a group reading activity for families where parents and grandparents can enjoy lively songs, rhymes and stories with their pre-school children.
Frank Field MP said: “We are absolutely delighted to have HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as our new patron. She believes passionately in securing better futures for disadvantaged children, which resonates completely with what we are achieving here in Birkenhead, and hopefully one day at a national level.”