ACTION for Children director Paul Carberry says it was a huge honour to bring the royals to his area to showcase a programme that is changing young lives locally.

Paul Carberry, who stays in Gourock, welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who is the charity patron, to see the impact of the Roots of Empathy 'tiny teachers' programme.

The early intervention initiative has been in Inverclyde schools for the last ten years, with volunteer parents bringing their babies into classrooms to teach children about emotions.

On greeting their Royal Highnesses Paul spoke about the origins of the programme and its success.

Speaking about the visit to the Tele he said: "It really means a lot to me to bring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Inverclyde.

"We have a great relationship with Inverclyde Council and we run many services with them.

"St John's was one of the first schools to take part in Roots of Empathy and we see for ourselves the impact it has every day.

"The duchess is a great supporter of our charity and has a real understanding of the work we are doing."

Roots of Empathy is one of the most popular programmes in primary schools in Inverclyde and has led to in-depth research by the charity which shows 76 per cent of pupils were more caring towards one another as a result of what they had learned from it.

Paul said: "We have an incredible record delivering this programme and I was honoured to discuss our work in this area with the Duke and Duchess.

“Having the chance to meet them has been a wonderful experience for the children at St John’s and will undoubtedly have a positive lasting impact similar to our Roots of Empathy programme."

The royals met with Susan Robison, who is the co-ordinator delivering the service in Inverclyde.

St John's acting head teacher Martin Craig added: “We've been involved in the Roots of Empathy programme for several years and really value the impact it has on our children.

"I even volunteered my own son to be a mini teacher for the programme.

“To have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit highlights just how important this focus on compassion and empathy is to childhood development.

"This visit will shine a light on the importance and the lasting impact the programme has on our young children and may encourage more schools to join.”