THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected in North Wales today to visit a number of projects supported by the mental health charity Mind.
They are expected to visit projects in Caernarfon, Denbigh and on Anglesey, where the couple enjoyed their first years of married life.
Prince William and his wife Kate are dropping in to meet the team at the Denbigh Men’s Sheds project as part of a tour of North Wales to find out about the various projects supported by the Mind charity across the region.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be the guests of honour for Vale of Clwyd Mind and the Shed project, which aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of potentially vulnerable give men, this afternoon.
Director for Vale of Clwyd Mind Phil Williams, who is over the moon if a little nervous about the visit, revealed he had to keep the event a secret even from his own staff.
“It’s very exciting for everybody,” he said.
“It’s been a huge secret, I’ve been waiting for months to say.
“To be recognised at this level, the members are over the moon.”
Mr Williams will be chaperoning the Royal couple with outreach manager Jenny Bolton and hopes to show William and Kate how the project has become a “huge success”.
“It’s grown and grown in the last 12 months,” Mr Williams added.
“We now have 65 members making it the biggest in Wales so we must be doing something right.
“We’re raising awareness of the stigma men with mental health problems face and how this project can improve their self esteem, that’s the message we’re trying to get over.
“It helps men open up and stand next to each other shoulder to shoulder.”
Angus Shaw, secretary of Denbigh Men’s Sheds, which has gardening, woodwork and catering divisions, said he was very much looking forward to meeting the Duke and Duchess.
“We’re all very excited,” he said.
“It’ll be good for members to have a bit of joy and entertainment.
“Denbigh Men’s Sheds has a great ethos and has been going from strength to strength.
“To be able to show them that is brilliant.”
A spokesman for Will and Kate said: “The Duke and Duchess will meet men from the Vale of Clwyd Mind Men's Shed project in Denbigh and be guided through a series of activities centred on the theme of mindfulness.
“They will visit a Peace Garden that has been developed by the project and will be shown a woodwork session.
“Finally, they will meet men involved in the development of a new sensory garden plot.
“The visit will conclude with a performance from the Musical Meatballs in Mind choir.”
The visit will also include a return to Anglesey for the popular royal couple.
The Duke and Duchess spent their first years as a married couple on the Island while Prince William was employed as a helicopter pilot at RAF Valley.
Mental health charity Mind said William and Kate will meet young people involved in art projects run by Ynys Môn and Gwynedd Mind
Sara Moseley, director, Mind Cymru, said: “It’s an honour to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Mind’s projects in Wales, reinforcing our shared commitment to ensuring everyone with a mental health problem gets the support and respect they deserve.
"The Duke and Duchess have repeatedly focussed global attention on mental wellbeing in recent months, echoing Mind’s ongoing determination to end the stigma that surrounds mental health problems."
The Duke and Duchess will meet students from Coleg Menai Bangor and Parc Menai campuses at Ynys Môn and Gwynedd Mind.
The students have used art as an expression of their mental health experiences and as a way of raising public awareness about some of the issues they feel specifically affect young people today.
Ms Moseley added: “We are incredibly proud to share the fantastic achievements of Mind’s service users with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
"In celebrating these personal stories of recovery together, we can raise public awareness of mental health problems and empower more people to ask for help when they need it.”