Kate Middleton to open Edinburgh arts charity

Kate is royal patron of The Art Room. Picture: AP
Kate is royal patron of The Art Room. Picture: AP
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A NEW arts charity is to get the royal seal of approval after it was revealed it will be officially opened by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Scotland’s first branch of charity The Art Room, of which new mum Kate is royal patron, will be based at the Wester Hailes Education Centre (WHEC) from January.

Sources close to the charity confirmed the duchess is expected to cut the ribbon early next year, although the date is yet to be confirmed.

The 31-year-old’s visit to the Capital is expected to generate excitement among royal fans and comes after Prince George was born on July 22.

It will be the first branch of the charity – which helps schoolchildren aged five to 16 boost their self-esteem through art – to open in Scotland.

WHEC headteacher Sheila Paton said: “We have heard that the Duchess of Cambridge intends to visit the centre. It is certainly our understanding and we are all quite excited.

“The Art Room will be fantastic for the area. It’s a great charity that is proven to have excellent results with the young people involved.

“It will be a great asset, not just for this area, but in the future as an outreach programme. Everything is running on schedule, so we expect it to open in January.”

Kate became patron of the charity in 2012, saying she is “a firm believer in the power of art to make a difference”.

It was formed 11 years ago and has since provided support to more than 10,000 children. Many of the children it helps are disruptive or withdrawn and have been identified as needing time away from school. Experts trained in psychotherapy and art work with youngsters in small groups to bring them out of their shell.

Colinton/Fairmilehead councillor Jason Rust, who backed the charity’s move to Edinburgh, said the visit would be a welcome one.

He said: “It’s very good news. Anything that draws attention to the good work the charity does will be good for the launch of The Art Room in Scotland. Hopefully it will boost the profile of it and generate some publicity for this great cause.”

A spokesman for Clarence House said he was unable to confirm engagements until just beforehand. “It is too early,” he said.

Renovation work on the centre starts at the end of the week.