A major new initiative to widen access to education, training and employment in the fashion industry received a Royal Opening in east London yesterday.
Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Edinburgh GCVO met beneficiaries, staff, Governors and partners as she opened the Portal Centre for Social Impact at the London College of Fashion.
The Portal Centre for Social Impact is the latest step in a longstanding and enormously effective partnership between the Portal Trust and the London College of Fashion (LCF). We’re proud to now be investing £4 million to help LCF deepen their commitment to bringing their world-leading expertise into London’s most deprived communities.
The new Portal Centre for Social Impact will be based at LCF’s new main campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham and at the Poplar Works site in Tower Hamlets, and will become a hub for inspiring young people in the local community to discover the wide range of skills that go into the fashion industry – as well as helping them access the education needed to unlock what can be an immensely rewarding career.
Left to Right: Claire Swift, Director of Social Responsibility, London College of Fashion; James Purnell, President and Vice-Chancellor, UAL; Professor Andrew Teverson, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of London College of Fashion, UAL; HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh GCVO; Richard Foley, Chief Executive, The Portal Trust; Sophie Fernandes, Chairman, The Portal Trust; Denise Jones, Deputy Chair and Chair of Grants, The Portal Trust.
Our partnership with LCF over the last 10 years has already produced inspiring results. For example, the Making for Change programme – which works at HMP Downview and previously at HMP Holloway – has given women serving custodial sentences the training and support they need to become skilled workers in fashion design and production, meaning they have secure and fulfilling careers for the long term.
Prisoner education has been a major priority for the Portal Trust for many years, as we recognise that for many young people in the criminal justice system, leaving prison without viable career prospects can lead to lost potential and negative outcomes in all areas of life. For this reason, we deeply appreciate the commitment LCF have shown to helping young women in prison discover their true potential and take ownership of their futures.
The Duchess of Edinburgh has been patron of LCF since 2013, and spoke movingly at the opening ceremony about the extraordinary skills and achievements of participants in Making for Change programmes she had met on prison visits, and about the outstanding commitment of all those who had made the launch of the Portal Centre for Social Impact possible.
The opening ceremony was attended by staff and Governors of the Portal Trust, along with local stakeholders and those who have benefitted from the Trust’s and LCF’s work in the local community.
The London College of Fashion's official press release can be found here.