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Kate and William working apart


The Duchess of Cambridge is to visit an art therapy room at a school in London

The Duchess of Cambridge is to visit an art therapy room at a school in London

The Duchess of Cambridge is to visit an art therapy room at a school in London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent Valentine's Day apart working - with Kate visiting a charity project and William helping flood victims.

While Kate, who looked stylish in a blue LK Bennett dress, toured a school in north-west London to meet children benefiting from art therapy provided by one of her organisations, William donned waders and waterproofs and made an unannounced trip to Datchet with his brother Prince Harry to help move sandbags being used to defend properties in the flood-hit Berkshire village.

The royal brothers formed a human chain with troops from the Household Cavalry - Harry's regiment - to move sandbags off a lorry.

At Northolt High School Kate opened a newly refurbished room that has been transformed into a tranquil art studio and rest space with funds donated by global brokers Icap.

It is the seventh art space opened by the Art Room charity whose staff hold drawing and painting therapy lessons that help build confidence and self-esteem within youngsters having difficulties at school.

During her visit the Duchess joined a group of nine children who sat at large table in the art room creating still life paintings of pieces of fruit.

Kate, who is the Art Room's royal patron, spent more than half an hour chatting to the six girls and three boys and could be heard asking the youngster if they enjoyed their time in the lesson.

Jo Lloyd Jones, chairman of the Art Room's board of trustees, spoke about the work his organisation does: "We take children at risk of exclusion, who are not coping for a wide range of reasons, and, using art techniques, are able to establish them back into main stream schools, giving them confidence and the ability to cope."

He added that since the charity was established 12 years ago, it had helped more than 10,000 children from primary and high schools.

Speaking about the effect the Duchess has had on their work since she became their figurehead in 2012, he added: "It raised our profile undoubtedly, and she helps attract organisations and people interested in our work.

"The important thing is she's genuinely interested in what we've done, there's a commitment on her part and we feel very privileged."

City firm ICAP donated £105,000 to set up the high school's art room and cover its running costs for the first year.

The funds were raised in 2012 during the company's annual charity day when celebrities play brokers making deals over the phone - something that William and Harry have done in recent years.

Up to 60 children each week will use the Art Room and in time neighbouring schools will also benefit from its services.

Jon Snow, patron of the Art Room, said: "The Duchess thinks there should be an Art Room in every school in Britain. If you can prevent a child from being excluded, you're probably preventing a child ending up in a young offenders institution.

"Kids who come in crisis emerge confident and with their self-esteem boosted, and there is no stigma attached to spending time in the Art Room."

Juli Beattie, founder director of the Art Room who took the Duchess on her tour of the school, said: "Every human being needs time to be listened to, to have a cup of tea and to be nurtured.

"When children come to us, they suddenly realise that they are as able as any other child and as talented. And to have the Duchess, who studied history of art and knows the power of art, here making a difference to the children, is so important to us."

Gloria Lowe, headteacher of the school, said: "There is no doubt the children using the Art Room are better placed academically and less likely to behave in a way that would stop them from achieving."

Later this year the Art Room will open its eighth and ninth studios in Edinburgh and London.