Last year’s unprecedented success by the Bracton Centre in the annual Koestler Trust Awards were celebrated at a special ceremony recently.
Service users at the Bracton Centre, Oxleas medium secure unit, won a fabulous 25 arts awards in the 2011 contest - the centre’s best ever haul.
The Koestler Trust is the UK’s best-known prison arts charity. It has been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients for 50 years, inspiring entrants to take part in the arts, work for achievement and transform their lives. Its national exhibition of 150 selected works at the London’s Royal Festival Hall, attracts 14,000 visitors – showing the public the talent and potential of people in secure settings.
At the ceremony Joyti Waswani, the Koestler Trust’s Director of Business said: “We received over 7,000 entries nationwide this year so the results at the Bracton Centre are phenomenal. Out of 107 entries from the Bracton the 25 awards, represent a massive achievement. The level of talent coming out of the Bracton Centre is outstanding. I am very impressed with the way participants are encouraged to be creative. I feel privileged and honoured to be here today.”
The 25 awards include a Platinum, two Golds, two Silvers and four Bronzes.
Director of Forensic and Prison Services and Bexley Mental Health Services, John Enser, told the participants: “This is a tremendous achievement for all involved. Bracton Centre winning entries included painting, urban art murals, animation films, pottery, mosaic and Greenwich Market Project crafts, as well as music, creative writing and an Employment Project Award. It’s great to see you utilising creative talents you may not have been aware you had – I am so proud of you.”
Patsy Fung, Head of Occupational Therapy, said: “Some of our service users have never won anything in their lives. These awards really build their self-esteem and help them to believe that they can achieve positive things. In 2009 we won 13 awards, in 2010 we won 14 awards and in 2011 we won 25 awards. They’re just getting better and better.”
Louise Sheridan, occupational therapy technical instructor, coordinated the entries with the support of the occupational therapy team.