William, Harry and their wives Kate and Meghan have joined forces to launch a new project, a round-the-clock text message helpline to support people in crisis.
On Friday, the Fab Four announced the launch of Shout. It’s a 24-hour service that connects people in need to trained volunteers who help calm them, plan their next steps and find longer-term support.
On Thursday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the official Shout launch at Kensington Palace. Harry was in the Netherlands and Meghan at home with baby Archie.
Shout, their new project, has been running quietly for a year now with the support of the royal couples, including a secret visit from Harry and Meghan to a west London volunteer event in November.
It is modelled on Crisis Text Line, which since being established in the US in 2013 has processed more than 100 million messages and been credited with saving countless lives.
So far they have 1,000 volunteers. Still, William hopes to quadruple that number in a year and called on the public to become volunteers so the service can expand.
William, Kate, Harry and Meghan’s Foundation has given £3 million to help get the vital service off the ground, their biggest investment in a project to date.
“We are incredibly excited to be launching this service, knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day,” William said.
“Over the past few months Shout has started working quietly behind the scenes and Harry, Meghan, Catherine and I have been able to see the service working up close and are so excited for its future.
“At the heart of this service will be an incredible national volunteer community, one which needs to grow and allow us to support more people in crisis. We hope that many more of you will join us and be part of something very special.”
He added: “As texting is private and silent, it opens up a whole new way to find help. It provides instant support. You can have a conversation anywhere, anytime; at school, home, on the bus, anywhere. I’m incredibly excited to be launching this service knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day.”
Volunteers complete 25 hours of online training and need to commit two to four hours per week. Kate said: “All volunteers need is a computer with a secure connection so they can complete online training and connect directly to those in need. The commitment for those keen to sign up is only between two to four hours a week, anytime, anywhere. It’s really that simple. This really is an important step for those in need.”