SOPHIE, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Edward were given a special present by an adorable three-year-old during a low-key visit to North Northamptonshire.
Sophie and Edward visited the Corby branch of Home-Start yesterday, an organisation that promotes the welfare of families with at least a child under the age of five. And, in a heart-melting moment, the Earl and Countess of Wessex were presented with a special homemade bag by Hope, a three-year-old child whose family has been supported by the charity.
The pair smiled widely at the child as she gave the bag to Prince Edward.
During their visit to Corby, Sophie and Edward heard from volunteers and staff what their day-to-day work entails and how they continued to provide support to families during the COVID-19 crisis.
The royal couple heard how brave volunteers from Home-Start Corby made and distributed care packages during the national lockdowns to provide families in need with practical support.
Maggie MacKay, manager at Home-Start Corby, said: “When the world was advised to stay apart during lockdown, our volunteer team pulled together ever closer and ensured the families of Home-Start were not alone.
“Families were offered emotional and practical support throughout as well as weekly calls and doorstep visits.
“Volunteers provided a strong supportive network based on trust and friendship.
“They celebrated with families when a new baby was born during the pandemic and encouraged families to keep going with homeschooling their children.
“They supported with relationship challenges and the impact of furlough on finances, provided different packs of resources where needed, and they even learned to Zoom and adapt to a digital world.
“At Home-Start Corby and nationally we ensure children and their families living in our local communities never feel alone, and that there is always somebody who cares enough to be there when needed.”
While at Home-Start Corby, one of the 185 Home-Start branches across the UK, Sophie and Edward also rolled up their sleeves and help put together some of the support packages the charity distributes to families.
The packs prepared by the royals contained nighttime routine suggestions, a toothbrush, new pyjamas, bath time bubbles, a nighttime storybook, a cuddly toy and a picture for each child to draw called ‘Pyjamarama – make your own bedtime star’.
Prince Edward and Sophie ended their visit to the charity by unveiling a traditional plaque commemorating their engagement.
At the peak of the coronavirus crisis, the Earl and Countess of Wessex engaged in volunteering activities themselves.
In April last year, Sophie teamed up with rhubarb Ltd, a hospitality group, to prepare and package warm meals for NHS emergency room workers.
In May 2020, husband and wife joined forces as they helped pack food parcels at the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking.
A few months later, in mid-December, it was revealed the couple had visited FoodWise in Woking to learn more about the charity, which has been delivering frozen meals to families during the pandemic.
There, the royals also spent some time in the kitchen chopping vegetables and helping the chef to prepare meals.
Earlier this year, Sophie joined the UK’s vaccination campaign and, after training with St John’s Ambulance, she completed shifts as a care volunteer at an NHS vaccination centre.
During her first day in this role, she was pictured asking people questions and handing out vaccination cards.
The Countess is the grand president of St John’s Ambulance and has been supporting the organisation since 2004.
Sophie resumed her royal work after a summer break earlier this week.
Her first engagement took place at RAF Wittering, where she watched the Wessex Cup – a competition which involves all her military patronages.
During the visit, she donned a camouflage jacket and khaki trousers.
The relaxed royal was seen speaking with soldiers at the base and even played a video game – Dirt Rally 2.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK