THE Duke of York visited Newcastle today as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the charity, The Children’s Foundation.

The Duke attended the event at Mansion House, Jesmond, where he addressed an audience of business leaders, civic dignitaries and members of the medical community.

The Children's Foundation helps disabled, disadvantaged or distressed children and young people throughout the North-East and Cumbria since its formation in 1990, and is supporting their campaign ‘…because minding matters,’ which focuses on children’s mental health issues in the region.

As well as aiming to raise £2m to help improve the mental health and well-being of youngsters, the campaign supports children, families and professionals working in mental health and the provision of services to tackle mental health illnesses.

In a speech, the Duke said: “I believe exactly in what The Children’s Foundation stands for because it stands for fundamental values and also it looks after young people.

“It looks after children who are probably in the greatest need for a whole range of care.

“But, more than that, the NHS, which is a wonderful organisation, doesn’t necessarily have time or resources to be able to look at the rather larger base level of prevention. That is what The Children’s Foundation is so good at.

“I’m a fundamental believer that prevention is so much better than having to go through the problems of cure, and it is interesting how over the years the importance of different aspects of healthcare rise and fall in what I would describe as the importance of priority.

“But it is absolutely evident that mental health, particularly for young people, today is what should concern us.”

The Children’s Foundation Chief Executive Peregrine Solly said: “We are absolutely delighted that, as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, The Duke of York was able to attend this extra-special event and support our campaign.

“We hope the Duke’s visit will help to raise both awareness and vital funds for our ‘…because minding matters’ campaign.”

According to the charity, the North-East currently has the highest levels of self-harming and suicide in the country among young people.

The Children’s Foundation, which is based at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, will concentrate on improving early recognition and intervention techniques and practical measures supporting schools, medical services and the professionals working in the sector, alongside offering advice and guidance to children, young people and parents.