Duchess of Cambridge returns to HMP Send

THE Duchess of Cambridge returned to HMP Send last Wednesday to meet former inmates who are making a new life for themselves, as well as meeting women still in prison. 

On her visit the Duchess spoke with prisoners being supported by rehabilitation charity The Forward Trust and was reunited with Kirsty Day, whom she first met when previously visiting Send in 2015.

TEA PARTY – Chatting with former Forward Trust clients who are now in the community, including Kirsty Day, to her immediate left. Also present are Forward Trust’s head of recovery Julie Muir, to the Duchess’s immediate right, partly obscured, and Forward trustee Dame Benita Refson DBE, far right

Kirsty is a powerful advertisement for the trust’s work at Send. She spent her childhood in and out of the care system, and after a series of bad experiences, turned to substance misuse and began a 10-year cycle of addiction and reoffending.

“The programme changed my life,” she said. “Even in some of my darkest moments since, I have never turned back to drugs.”

PAYING ATTENTION – Listening intently to the discussion as Kirsty Day, right, makes a point

The prison visit was organised by the Royal Foundation as part of their and the Duchess’s work on “Early Years”. It was one a series of visits across the country to mark the launch of a new nationwide survey – 5 Big Questions – aimed at “creating a national conversation” on how the early years can impact the rest of people’s lives.

The importance of early childhood is something the Duchess has focused on in her work. The online survey will give people the opportunity to provide their views on raising the next generation. The information from the survey will be a vital source of information for the early years sector and to help focus the Duchess’s work through the Royal Foundation.

LOOKING AROUND – With the governor of HMP Send, Carlene Dixon

HMP Send governor Carlene Dixon said: “I’m delighted the Duchess of Cambridge came here today to meet staff and prisoners.

“Many of our prisoners have suffered trauma and abuse in their childhood and a number struggle with drug and alcohol problems. It is vital that we empower offenders so we can move them away from crime for good and ultimately improve public safety.”

For more information on the Forward Trust, visit www.forwardtrust.org.uk, or for More Than My Past visit https://morethanmypast.org.uk/.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s survey can be found at www.5bigquestions.org.uk. It will run until 21 February.

For the full story get the 30 January edition of the News & Mail

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