Portal Centre for Social Impact Showcased in Major Award

We’re proud to support UAL in their work to make fashion fairer and more inclusive, which has now been recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.


Support from the Portal Trust has contributed to University of the Arts London (UAL) receiving the most prestigious national honour in the Higher Education sector.

Today’s announcement that UAL has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize is testament to the University’s commitment to putting social and environmental sustainability at the heart of its work with the fashion industry.

Among a number of achievements, the award showcases the work of the Portal Centre for Social Impact, a major new initiative to help UAL’s London College of Fashion (LCF) share its world-leading expertise with London’s most deprived communities.

A £4m grant from the Portal Trust – the largest single grant ever awarded by the Trust – has made the establishment of the Centre possible.

The Portal Centre for Social Impact is based at LCF’s new main campus At the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham and at Poplar Works in Tower Hamlets, and will become a hub for enabling young people from across London to discover the wide range of skills that go into the fashion industry – as well as helping them access the education needed to unlock rewarding and creative careers.

The Portal Trust has been proud to support innovative social impact projects at UAL for over a decade. This includes Making for Change, which has given women serving custodial sentences at HMP Downview the training and support they need to become skilled workers in fashion design and production, meaning they have access to secure and fulfilling careers for the long term.

Richard Foley, Chief Executive of the Portal Trust, said:

“In showcasing the work of the Portal Centre for Social Impact, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize not only recognises what’s already been achieved, but signals the enormous potential of the Portal Centre to transform the lives of disadvantaged young Londoners.

“UAL has made great strides in opening up arts and fashion education to all London’s communities, and this prize is richly deserved. It’s a proud day for UAL and for all those who are supporting them in their work.”

Background information:

The Portal Trust is one of London’s leading educational charities, and funds projects helping disadvantaged young people, across 14 Inner London Boroughs, achieve their full potential.

The Portal Centre for Social Impact at UAL received its official Royal opening in April 2023, with HRH the Duchess of Edinburgh GCVO meeting beneficiaries and service providers at the Poplar Works site.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities that show quality and innovation, and deliver real benefit to the wider world and public through education and training. The Prizes are the highest national Honour awarded in UK further and higher education. Prizes are granted by The Monarch every two years.

Claire Swift, Director of Social Responsibility, LCF; James Purnell, Vice-Chancellor, UAL; Andrew Teverson, Head of LCF; HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh; from the Portal Trust: Richard Foley, Chief Exec; Sophie Fernandes, Chairman; Denise Jones, Deputy Chair