Prince William has been secretly manning a helpline for people in crisis.

The Duke of Cambridge has joined more than 2,000 volunteers who have trained to help people using the UK’s first round-the-clock text messaging service, Shout 85258.

William and wife Kate marked the service's first anniversary by speaking to some of its volunteers via video call, with the Duke saying: "I'm going to share a little secret with you guys, but I'm actually on the platform volunteering."

Kate has also been helping others and has taken part in "check in and chat" calls with those self-isolating or vulnerable as part of the Royal Voluntary Service's NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on the video call with veterans from Mais House
William and Kate on a video call with veterans from Mais House last month

The couple, along with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, helped to launch the crisis line in May last year, investing £3 million in the service through their Royal Foundation.

Since then its volunteers have had more than 300,000 text conversations with people needing mental health support.

Around 65% of conversations were with people aged under 25.

Usually Shout volunteers are asked to commit to 25 hours of online training and to work two to four hours per week to chat to people, using trained techniques via text messages to help them think more clearly about their problems and how they can solve them.

The Cambridges also marked Volunteers’ Week by making video calls earlier this week to two organisations to discuss the work they have been doing using volunteers.

They logged in to speak to people from Conscious Youth, an organisation working with young people from mainly black and other ethnic minority backgrounds
They logged in to speak to people from Conscious Youth, an organisation working with young people from mainly black and other ethnic minority backgrounds

They spoke to Conscious Youth, an organisation that works with young people from mainly black and other ethnic minority backgrounds in Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and other parts of Kirklees in West Yorkshire.

They also called Machynlleth Community Corona Response, a group set up to help people in Powys, Wales, during the coronavirus crisis.

The Cambridges also spoke to Conscious Youth, an organisation working with young people from mainly black and other ethnic minority backgrounds in West Yorkshire, and joked about the challenges of home schooling.

The couple have not disclosed if they have sent their children back to school, but William admitted some of Prince George's coursework has proved daunting at times.

"I struggle with Year 2 maths," he said.

The Cambridges haven't let on if they're still home schooling
The Cambridges haven't let on if they're still home schooling

Sophie Simpson, 38, who co-founded Conscious Youth with Serena Johnson, 35, said: “We were talking about the struggles of teaching at home.

"Both Serena and I are parents as well and I guess we totally understood their saying 'we can’t teach maths and English like they do at school'.

“The Duke and Duchess totally agreed that teaching Year 2 maths was very difficult. I could agree with them because I teach that as well and I’m struggling.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chatted about home schooling
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chatted about home schooling

Their organisation, created in 2016, has set up a virtual youth club on a website during the coronavirus pandemic to support young people through the crisis.

Similarly, Machynlleth Community Corona Response is one of many mutual aid groups that have sprung up across the country to support to those in need during the pandemic.

More than 120 volunteers in the market town of Machynlleth and surrounding villages go shopping for neighbours, man a telephone helpline, and cook and deliver nourishing meals for the vulnerable.

The royal couple chatted to volunteers at Machynlleth Community Corona Response
The royal couple chatted to volunteers at Machynlleth Community Corona Response

Kate, 38, said: “One of the things that would be amazing, I think, is if everyone in their communities is to carry on and still celebrate volunteering in the way that everyone has been during the pandemic.”

She added: “Everyone’s got something to give back.”

Wiliam thanked all of them.

“It’s National Volunteering Week and we want to say a big thank you from both of us,” he said.

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“Thank you for all the volunteering you’re doing, thank you for all the time and all the effort you’re putting in. It’s been hugely rewarding and important that you guys are doing that and, as we’ve heard from Lynda, all of you have been a lifeline to all the people who you’ve helped in the area.”

In April he, Kate and their children packed and delivered food parcels to pensioners and other vulnerable people on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.