The Princess of Wales is set to open a family-friendly residential community that will pilot a new approach to supporting women in the justice system.
Developed by the charity One Small Thing, Hope Street is the first of its kind in the UK and is designed to transform women and children’s experiences of the justice system.
It will offer a “safe community alternative” for women, which allows children to remain with their mothers in a home environment with tailored and ongoing support, Kensington Palace said.
Hope Street, in Southampton, has been purpose-built and specifically designed by and for women to create a welcoming home environment, designed with light-filled communal as well as private spaces, a 24-hour hub and on-site creche and play areas for children.
During her visit on June 27, Kate will tour the new facility to learn about the unique support residents will receive, as well as meet the staff, supporters and partners who have driven the pilot program over the past six years.
The princess will also hear how Hope Street will work to prevent mothers being separated from their children in the justice system, before meeting women who have lived experience of the system.
Hope Street offers a community alternative for women who would otherwise be sent to prison unnecessarily due to a lack of safe accommodation or concerns around their wellbeing, Kensington Palace added.
The charity has deployed an evidence-based approach, which is being independently monitored by The University of Southampton, The Prison Reform Trust and EP:IC.
The pilot aims to demonstrate how a compassionate and supportive approach towards women in the justice system can have a transformative impact and improve outcomes for society, providing a blueprint that can be scaled across the country.
The princess has dedicated her time to raising awareness of the importance of early childhood, and in January 2023, with The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, launched Shaping Us, a long-term campaign.
Recently the princess met with families who have spent time in the care system, as well as foster and adoptive carers and kinship carers to stress the increased importance of strong, loving and consistent relationships to children who experience trauma and adversity in early life.