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'Caring' Kate meets inmates and staff at women's prison

Published 04/11/2016

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the Nelson Trust Women's Centre in Gloucester as part of her work on addiction and mental health
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the Nelson Trust Women's Centre in Gloucester as part of her work on addiction and mental health

The Duchess of Cambridge has met inmates at a women's prison as part of her work on addiction and mental health.

Kate spoke to staff and a small number of prisoners about their personal stories during a private visit to HMP Eastwood Park, in Gloucestershire.

Kensington Palace tweeted: "The Duchess has visited HMP Eastwood Park to learn what support is available to women prisoners and their families with complex needs.

"Her Royal Highness also met with a small number of women prisoners at HMP Eastwood Park to hear their personal stories.

"The Duchess wants to see the support helping vulnerable families break the cycles at the heart of issues like addiction and mental health."

Later, Kate also visited a women's centre, which works closely with the prison.

The Nelson Trust Women's Centre in Gloucestershire was set up in 2010 and is designed to support women who have vulnerabilities, particularly those who have experienced abuse and trauma.

Kate, who wore a Mulberry coat and Dolce and Gabbana skirt, met members of staff and learnt about the various strands of work including prison in-reach and social inclusion support, the sex worker outreach project, and rural outreach to young girls at risk.

She was also introduced to women who have accessed support there and heard about their personal experiences.

The Duchess also met supporters of the Trust and unveiled a plaque marking her visit.

Before leaving, Kate was presented with a bouquet of flowers by four-year-old Tilly Penhale and her mother Natashia.

The Duchess told Tilly: "Thank you so much, I think George will like them."

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Penhale, who works for the Trust, said: "The Duchess was beatiful and she was really interested in hearing from us. She was so engaging and came across as caring."

The centre has won awards for the practical and emotional support it offers, with a focus on nine "pathways of need", which include finances, physical, emotional and mental health, drugs and alcohol, trauma and abuse, sexual exploitation and sex-working.

Along with a second site in Swindon, the Women's Centre supports more than 500 women annually across Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

John Trolan, chief executive of the Trust, said: "The Duchess is a genuine inspiration to the staff here and it has made a huge difference for her to take the time to come here.

"The Duchess has been fantastic and we were pleased she came to listen. We are pleased as punch."

Pictures showed the Duchess with a plaster on her left hand. Kensington Palace did not comment.

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