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Kate gives royal blessing to Art Room initiative at Didcot Primary
7:00am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
A NEW art therapy room for pupils at a Didcot primary school has received a letter of support from the Duchess of Cambridge.
In January last year Kate chose the Art Room as one of four charities where she would take the role of patron.
The Art Room, which started in Oxford, aims to help five to 16-year-olds who are experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties.
The organisation has set up a new art therapy centre at Stephen Freeman Primary School in Didcot.
On Saturday, Paul Bradstock, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, officially opened the new facility and read out the letter of support from the Duchess.
In her letter the Duchess wrote: “This Art Room will provide vulnerable children from this community with a lifeline.
“Problems and issues these children have can be left at the door as they enter this safe haven, where the children can realise their value and grow in confidence.
“Huge congratulations to all of those involved in this Art Room. I have no doubt that there was a lot of hard work and dedication involved in making this happen, for which I am hugely grateful.”
The Art Room has been established in the school’s old art room and will help 54 children a week, including pupils from across south Oxfordshire.
Ruth Bennie, headteacher at the 280-pupil school in Freeman Road, said: “Having this new Art Room gives us something extra to offer, and it’s wonderful to have Kate’s backing.
“Anything to do with Kate and William at the moment is exciting for the children.
“The Art Room is not just for children struggling with their school work.
“It could also help pupils who have issues at home, are shy or withdrawn, or have been off school because of illness.
“The new room will be used three days a week, with three sessions a day. This ties in with our ethos because we have always been very keen on arts, music and drama.”
The Art Room charity launched in Oxford in 2002.
In February last year when the Duchess visited Oxford, she called in at Art Rooms at Rose Hill Primary School and Oxford Spires Academy.
The Didcot project is being backed by Oxfordshire County Council’s South East Early Intervention Service.
Manager Susan Blake said: “It is hoped that the introduction of an Art Room as a facility for vulnerable families and children in the area will be a beacon of positivity for Didcot and the wider community.”
Debbie Bowell, from Loughborough in Leicestershire, brought her five-year-old daughter Beth to the Art Room while she was visiting her sister.
She said: “It was lovely, really great. We don’t have anything like it where we come from.”
Keith Arnold, 42, said his daughter Charley-Paige, nine, was a huge fan of the Duchess and loved visiting the centre The South Moreton resident said: “She didn’t have a very good time of it at school but since the Art Room has opened she absolutely loves it.
“They have been making self-portraits, week by week, and it is fantastic to see her confidence has climbed.
“We had an absolutely wonderful time at the official opening and can’t wait to go back.”