Only Connect “…is a theatre, arts and rehabilitation centre for prisoners, ex-offenders and youth at risk”. The group’s main goal is crime prevention, offering training and support through a variety of initiatives. More from the Mirror:
The organisation reaches 10,000 young people every year and their projects have been shown to reduce re-offending by half.
Helping former offenders is a cause close to William’s heart. He is patron of the St Giles Trust which helps ex prisoners get back on their feet and he visited their Camberwell offices earlier this month.
The Mirror’s Victoria Murphy notes that William’s aunt Lady Jane Fellowes – the sister of Princess Diana – is one of the trustees of the charity.
This morning the Duke and Duchess took part in a round table with representatives from several groups, including Spark Inside (they offer life coaching to young people in custody or on probation), Switchback (a mentoring group with a focus on catering, targeting offenders aged 18-24), Dance United (a dance company working with hard to reach groups), Bounce Back (training ex-offenders through work in painting, decorating and social enterprise). Only Connect posted this photo on Twitter of Kate chatting with members at today’s engagement.
Danny Kruger, chief executive of Only Connect told William and Kate this morning he was “enormously proud” to welcome them to their headquarters.
Mr Kruger, whose wife Emma founded the charity eight years ago, spoke to them about the importance of charities working together, saying: “This sector of ours is very fragmented and there’s not enough collaboration.”
Richard Palmer’s story in The Express with more on the visit:
Kate, meanwhile, met volunteers training ex-offenders to sew with a social enterprise called Handmade Alliance.
“It’s very fiddly work,” the Duchess said. Are you guys sewing on buttons. It looks very fiddly work,” she said to volunteers Nasser Massadimi, 20, and Elise Johnson, 23, who were busy making Christmas bunting to go on sale at the charity’s pop-up shop in London’s West End from Thursday.
Claudia Calvert, the workroom manager said Kate told her sewing was not her forte. “She was saying she’s not very good at it because when she tries sewing the needle normally gets caught on the pin and breaks.”
The group has a popup shop opening on Thursday, offering merchandise from the Alliance’s “Pearly Products” line. Below, a tea cosy and napkin.
This is the first such retail endeavor for the Alliance, they’ll be showcasing a variety of things created with some of their designer clients and allies. You can also purchase items directly from the Alliance website.
While speaking with those at the event Kate was given a shirt for Prince George, Simon Perry has the story in his piece for People magazine.
The infant heir to the throne of England is getting big already, his proud mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, said Tuesday as she and husband William made a joint royal outing, leaving George with babysitters.
Aaron Russell-Andrews, an ex-convict who had an official role at a charity event Tuesday for troubled youth, said Kate told him George was “growing very fast” and would fit snugly in the vest, made for a 6-month-old, that Russell-Andrews gave her as a present.
As Russell-Andrews was giving Kate the shirt, his own daughter Teegan, 20 months, tried to snatch it back. “They are very demanding at this age,” Kate said.
Kate as she is leaving the Only Connect headquarters.
Only Connect posted this photo of William and Kate with Only Connect’s co-founders, Emma and Danny Kruger.
The Duchess previously wore this frock when visiting The Art Room in February of last year (more in this post); the Duchess serves as patron of that organization. The ‘Birdie Shirt Dress’ is a wool jacquard weave, hopefully offering some warmth on what was a chilly morning in London.
She also repeated her Kiki McDonough Citrine Pear Drop earrings.
A better look at Kate’s accessories today. You can also just see a bit of her wristwatch poking out from under her left sleeve. (More information on the watch may be found in this post.)
Kate’s trusty Aquatalia booties are now known as the Royalty in the US and Canada, they sell at $475 at Aquatalia. Below we show last year’s version of the bootie (the Royal), and this year’s version with the updated hardware Aquatalia added to the boot. It remains available at Russell & Bromley in the UK, where it is still called the “Ruby Dry“.
It doesn’t appear that Nordstrom has last year’s Royal in stock anymore, nor do they seem to be carrying the new Royalty version. The closest thing Nordstrom stocks is the Roma bootie. Howevere, they are stocking Kate’s Rhumba and have it available in most sizes.
The Mirror’s Victoria Murphy shared this photo of William and Kate leaving Only Connect.
We also have news of multiple additions to Kate’s Calendar.
The first engagement is Thursday, November 28th. (Also when US readers celebrate Thanksgiving.) In her role as Patron of SportsAid Kate will attend the annual SportsBall. The Duchess will spend time meeting SportsAid supporters, and also announce the winner of the group’s highly regarded One-to-Watch Award.
The event is a fundraiser for SportsAid, last year’s SportsBall was a glittering affair
The other new appointment is Tuesday, December, 5th William and Kate will attend the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It is this year’s Royal Film Performance™.
A bit of history on the event from the organization’s website:
….(it) is a glittering annual event, which usually takes place in November/December at a major Leicester Square cinema and is always attended by a senior member of the royal family. The Royal Film Performance has been supported by members of the Royal Family since 1946 when King George VI attended the premiere of “A Matter of Life and Death”, in Leicester Square.
This year’s film follows Nelson Mandela’s life from his early days growing up in a rural village to his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president. More from E! Online:
Before the screening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will meet the film’s stars Idris Elba (Nelson Mandela) and Naomie Harris (Winnie Mandela), director Justin Chadwick and Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi Mandela.
Mandela opens in the US on Thanksgiving and on January 3 in the UK. A trailer for the film can be watched here (scroll down just a bit).
Some may recall that Kate and William were scheduled to attend last year’s Royal Film Performance™ for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Because Kate was coping with the illness of her early pregnancy the Duke attended solo.
This year’s event also benefits The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Tickets remain available at the £90 and £150 levels, but tickets for the reception before the film are sold out, as are £200 tickets.
One other quick note: our friends at EACH, one of Kate’s patronages, are having a fundraiser via an online auction. like a framed Manchester United shirt signed by football great Wayne Rooney and a Royal Worcester plate made especially for EACH celebrating the birth of Prince George.
You can even bid on a pair of tickets to the sold out One Direction concert at Wembley Stadium next September.
- You can learn more about SportsAid at its website here, or follow the group on Facebook, or on Twitter.
- There is a separate website website for the SportsBall, you can see loads of pictures from last year’s event here, and videos from several previous SportsBalls here.
- The Cinema and Television Benevolent fund website is here, its Facebook page may be seen here and the group’s Twitter feed is here. Learn more about the Royal Film Performance
- Visit the Only Connect website here, or follow the group on its Facebook page here, Twitter page is here
- Learn more about the work done by the Handmade Alliance by visiting its website, or following the organization’s Facebook page
- the Bounce Back Project website is here, its Facebook page is here, and Twitter page here
- Richard Palmer’s story in the Express is here, The Daily Mail’s story is here, the Express story is here,
- ITN’s video story is here ,