The Duchess of Cornwall today carried out engagements in Sutton, visiting HMP Downview and Maggie’s at the Royal Marsden Hospital.
At HMP Downview, one of only 12 female prisons in the country, Her Royal Highness met staff and inmates and learnt about the prison’s rehabilitation programme.
The Duchess visited the Max Spielmann Academy, an onsite shop where inmates are trained in up-to-date photographic industry techniques, and Making for Change, a fashion training and manufacturing unit established by the Ministry of Justice and London College of Fashion.
The projects aim to increase wellbeing and reduce reoffending rates amongst participants by equipping them with professional skills.
Her Royal Highness also visited the prison’s library, which has recently started working with the National Literacy Trust, of which The Duchess is Patron, to implement ‘Books Unlocked’.
The programme is funded by the Booker Prize Foundation to help prisoners increase their enjoyment and frequency of reading.
Another initiative at the prison is Storybook Mums, which allows inmates to record a bedtime story for their children.
Later, The Duchess of Cornwall visited The Clink Charity kitchen, which supplies catering for external events in London. The kitchen gives inmates the opportunity to learn about food safety and preparation.
Next, The Duchess visited Maggie’s at the Royal Marsden Hospital, the cancer charity’s latest centre.
Maggie’s centres provide free cancer support and information in centres and online. The first centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and there are now 26 centres across the UK and internationally. The Duchess has been President of Maggie’s since 2008.
Her Royal Highness joined a Mindfulness session and heard how the centre has helped patients with their ongoing treatment and recovery.