The Duchess of Cambridge was seen in Battersea Park yesterday morning, offering emotional support to local mums who found lockdown particularly challenging.

On a warm autumn day, Kate praised peer groups from charity Home-Start, for keeping their family support system going over lockdown on Zoom.

Single mums Irma Martus, 47, and Carol Elliott, 41, told the duchess how they had benefited from weekly check-up phone calls from Home-Start's Wandsworth branch during the pandemic.

Kate - mother to Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George - said:

"Does it help emotionally too? You feel less judged? Everybody needs to have those friendships."

The mothers sat socially distanced on benches in the Old English Garden, with the Duchess taking breaks to coo over their babies.

Wandsworth Times: Kate meeting mothers in Battersea Park (PA) Kate meeting mothers in Battersea Park (PA)

"It was magical, I still have butterflies. I feel like she genuinely cares and understands some of the challenges... she can relate as another mum," said mum Irma Martus.

Home-Start Wandsworth matches volunteers with vulnerable families in the borough, to help families with children under the age of 5.

In the last year 83 volunteers supported over 145 families and helped over 248 children.

Throughout the pandemic, the charity supplied extra food, medicine, toys and art supplies, to help families get through tough times.

More recently, the Home Start has resumed socially distant face-to-face support with visits to local parks.

“Having the volunteers keep in regular contact with me, meant that I didn’t ever feel things were spiralling out of control,” said another Home-Start Wandsworth mum.

An online survey commissioned by organisations supporting parents and babies including Home Start - has revealed a concerning picture for mothers, fathers and their infants living through Covid-19.

Of 5,000 people questioned during lockdown, almost 68% of parents felt the changes brought about by coronavirus were affecting their unborn baby, infant or young child - and reported an increase in behaviour like tantrums and crying.

Wandsworth Times:

Early years development is a key focus for Kate, who held a video call earlier that day with eight organisations across the country to talk about helping parents with young children.