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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has praised an “inspiring” teenager who camped out in his garden for a whole year.
The 40-year-old royal paid a visit to Shout in London on Wednesday (26.01.22) to mark the mental health text service reaching more than one million conversations with those in need since its launch in 2019, and among the volunteers she met was 13-year-old boy scout Leo Street, who slept outside in a hammock under a heavy-duty tarpaulin in temperatures as low as -5° to raise more than £8,000 for the support line.
Catherine – who is also joint president of The Scout Association – told Leo: “There really isn’t a big enough Scout badge for that.
“What you achieved is really inspiring. You must have had some impressive kit to keep warm.”
Catherine was also shown a demonstration of how the platform works before she spoke with the volunteers and heard how there is an urgent need for more people to get involved as, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, used has surged by 140%, with children as young as 13 and under accounting or 8% of their texts.
The duchess – who launched Shout with her husband, Prince William, and her brother-and-sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex through their ‘Heads Together’ initiative in 2019 – later praised the work of the “incredible” volunteers.
A post on her and William’s Twitter account read: “Having met some of the incredible volunteers today to hear their stories and see how they facilitate conversations, it’s obvious how their empathetic approach helps people feel safe, calm and listened to.
“Mental health support and resources across the UK have made significant strides over the last decade. @GiveUsAShout, through its 24/7 text messaging service, has been a huge contributor and consistent support for children, young people & adults during their most difficult times.”
William revealed in June 2020 that he had secretly volunteered for the service.
He told a group of Shout’s volunteers: “I’m going to share a little secret with you guys, but I’m actually on the platform volunteering.”
Those texting in to the crisis line would not know they are talking to the future King of England as, like all other volunteers on the service, William uses a pseudonym.