Published on
05 October 2020

Barnardo’s Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, visited Hillsborough Castle today and was met by Head of Barnardo’s NI Michele Janes and Assistant Director of Children’s Services Pamela Kirk.

The meeting with the Duchess was an opportunity for the children’s charity to discuss the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on local children and families and the challenges they have encountered over the last seven months. 

Barnardo’s NI is the largest children’s charity in Northern Ireland, supporting over 12,000 children, young people and families each year. 

Head of Barnardo’s NI Michele Janes said, “We are very grateful to The Duchess of Cornwall for taking the time to meet with us today and allowing us to share real life experiences from local families, who have been impacted the most.

“Over the last seven months our staff, carers and volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure the most vulnerable children are getting the support they need and that they are getting it quickly - whether that’s a delivery of groceries and essentials during lockdown, providing digital counselling sessions while schools were closed, or face-to-face interventions to maintain the safety of a child. 

Duchess of Cornwall


“The pandemic continues to have an impact on children and young people in Northern Ireland, and will likely continue to do so for a long time. It is vital that we can sustain the support needed for them both during and after this pandemic, particularly in areas like mental health and wellbeing, where the effects of the current situation may not be seen immediately. We need to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect those who are at risk, and that the vital work done by the voluntary sector in supporting vulnerable groups can continue during and after this crisis.”

This week Barnardo’s NI has launched their new service, ‘See, Hear, Respond’. See, Hear, Respond is an emotional wellbeing service that will work with children and young people, offering practical and therapeutic support. It will also offer advice and guidance to any adults who are concerned about a child’s mental health and wellbeing.

Families in Northern Ireland can now self refer online for See, Hear, Respond online at or call 0800 157 7015 available from noon until 7pm, Monday to Friday. You can also be referred by professionals.