William and Kate call Crisis volunteers ‘trailblazers’ on anniversary of service launched with Harry and Meghan

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not appear on the call

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Friday 15 May 2020 15:49
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EMBARGO 22:30 DO NOT USE Prince William and Kate call crisis volunteers 'trailblazers' on anniversary of service launched with Harry and Meghan

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined a group of Crisis volunteers on a video call to mark the first anniversary of Shout85258, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text line.

Shout, which operates through the work of more than 1,800 trained volunteers, was launched in May 2019 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following a £3m investment by The Royal Foundation.

It was conceived in the wake of the success of the Heads Together campaign, a mental health initiative launched by Prince William, Catherine and Prince Harry in 2016.

The aim of the Shout text service, which is free on all major mobile networks, is to provide people with someone to speak to at any time of day, no matter what crisis they are going through.

On Wednesday 13 May, Catherine and Prince William joined five Crisis volunteers and the charity‘s CEO, Victoria Hornby, on a video call to discuss how Shout has grown throughout the year.​

Within the past 12 months, 300,000 text conversations have been conducted through Shout, two thirds of which were with people aged 25 or under.

During their call, Prince William praised the volunteers for providing those who use the text line with support.

“You guys are the trailblazers, you have been doing a fantastic job keeping Shout moving forward, so well done and thank you for all your hard work; we really appreciate it,” he said.

Ms Hornby stated that Shout has become “a vital service for thousands of people across the UK”.

“The fact that Shout has been able to quickly start to help so many people move from a crisis point to a calmer place is down to the skill and dedication of our volunteers and the support we have had from The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and our other partners,” she said.

The chief executive added that the coronavirus lockdown has shown “how young people find it incredibly useful to have a neutral person to listen confidentially to their worries and give independent support”.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (bottom row) speak to Crisis volunteers. The volunteers on the call were (top row, left to right) Jo Irwin, Alexis Caught and Jo Booth, and (second row, left to right) CEO Victoria Hornby, Michelle Fernandes and Kiel McPhilips

Alexis Caught, a Crisis volunteer who participated in the video call with the royal couple, said that while Shout is “crucial at all times”, “now more than ever it can serve as a lifeline to those most in need”.

“Without the hundreds of volunteers who give up their time to provide help and reassurance to others, the service simply wouldn’t be able to function,” he said.

“We want to send a very clear message to anyone who is looking for someone to reach out to – we are here to listen to you anytime, anywhere about any problem.”

To raise awareness of the Shout text line, the organisation is launching a new campaign to promote the text number people can contact if they need support.

Called the #Shout85258 challenge, the campaign will see participants form the shape of the 85258 text number with their hands, which they will feature in videos shared on social media.

As part of the campaign’s launch, on Saturday 16 May Shout Crisis volunteers are taking over Kensington Palace‘s Instagram Stories.

Those involved will treat viewers to Q&As and videos from volunteers and other individuals.

This will mark the first time the Kensington Palace Instagram account has partnered with another organisation in this manner.

In April, Shout partnered with mental health organisations Mind, Samaritans and Hospice UK to launch Our Frontline, a new initiative supported by The Royal Foundation.

Our Frontline is offering 24/7 mental health and bereavement support to frontline and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

To contact the 24/7 Shout text service, text 85258.

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