Duchess of Cambridge-backed charity The Art Room set to close

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Media captionThe Duchess of Cambridge became patron of The Art Room in Oxford in 2012

A children’s mental health charity supported by the Duchess of Cambridge is to close.

The duchess became patron of The Art Room in Oxford in 2012.

The charity, which uses art therapy to help boost children’s confidence and self esteem, had since expanded to cover eight schools in Oxfordshire, London, and Edinburgh.

Parent charity Place2Be blamed financial pressures and shrinking school budgets.

The Art Room employs 34 staff, and at least half of them will be made redundant.

In a statement Place2Be, which merged with The Art Room in 2018, said the charity was not financially sustainable, “particularly in an environment where school budgets are under pressure”.

It said it was developing a “more accessible and financially-viable model” in the form of a mobile service.

‘Vital service’

The Art Room will operate in its current format until the end of March, and then all eight of its facilities will close.

“Our teams are working with school staff to identify alternative support for children who have previously accessed our services,” the statement said.

When the duchess’s choice of charities was announced in 2012, St James’s Palace said they reflected her interests in the arts, promotion of outdoor activity, and supporting people in need of all ages.

Emmy O’Shaughnessy, from Oxford arts charity the Ark T Centre, said she was “really shocked” to hear of the closure.

She said the Ark T Centre was teaming up with fellow charity Raw Workshop to try and raise £50,000 to continue “vital” services that are provided by The Art Room in the local area.

She added: “I feel really passionately that The Art Room makes a massive difference to children and young people who aren’t getting that kind of support in other areas because of the lack of resource.”

Kensington Palace has been contacted for comment.