Kate joins market traders to discuss early years development campaign

The Princess of Wales’s Shaping Us initiative is described as her ‘life’s work’.

Princess of Wales
Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales will join market traders in Leeds to discuss her ambitious campaign aimed at raising the profile of the early years development of children.

Kate will tour the city’s iconic Kirkgate Market, meeting members of the public and stall holders to mark the launch of her “life’s work” – the Shaping Us project, aimed at highlighting the significance of the formative years of a child’s life.

In a video message released to highlight the project, the princess said: “Our early childhood, the time from pregnancy to the age of five, fundamentally shapes the rest of our lives.

“But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life.

“Today, the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is launching a new campaign, Shaping Us, to raise awareness of the life-changing impact we can have when we build a supportive, nurturing world around children and those who care for them.

“Because by focusing our collective time, energy and resources on these most preventative years, we can make a huge difference to the physical and mental health and happiness of generations to come.”

Shaping Us campaign
A still from the Princess of Wales’s‘ Shaping Us campaign (The Royal Foundation Centre/PA)

The long-term project is said to be Kate’s “life’s work”, which she hopes will influence attitudes towards children in the early years period of their lives.

A 90-second claymation film, first screened at a Shaping Us event attended by the Princess and Princess of Wales on Monday night, has also been released, depicting how the development of a young girl from the age of zero to five is shaped by interactions and her environment, and will be shown in cinemas from Friday.

After meeting vendors in the market, Kate will join a discussion with market sellers and local people about their experiences of early childhood, their reflections on the Shaping Us film and what it might mean to them.

In 2012, the late Queen launched Child Friendly Leeds, an initiative which encourages residents, businesses and institutions to make the city the best place for youngster to grow up in, with the belief that the community will see social and economic benefits.

Leeds City Council, working with partners to deliver enrichment programmes to improve outcomes, has seen a safe reduction in the number of youngsters being taken into care, more teenagers going into education, employment and training, and better school attendance.

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