The Princess of Wales visits HMP High Down
Published September 2023
The Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust, visited HMP High Down in Surrey to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions.
The Princess met with prisoners and their families, as well as staff from the prison and The Forward Trust, to learn about the work that the charity does inside HMP High Down to support clients to manage their addiction and to help break the intergenerational trauma of addiction.
Her Royal Highness followed the experience of a family during a normal visit, starting with the security procedures visitors are required to go through, and hearing about the impact that this has on families and learning about the recent efforts HMP High Down has put into making the experience a more positive one for children in particular.
The Forward Trust delivers a range of services at HMP High Down, tailored to meet the needs of the men who reside there. They include The Bridge, an intensive abstinence-based programme, Stepping Stones, a low to medium intensity intervention for those whose alcohol or drug consumption is at harmful or dependent levels, and Family Ties, a course of workshops focused on restoring healthy communication and trust between loved ones.
Finally, The Princess visited The Clink, an on-site restaurant which trains prisoners in hospitality, where she met with former prisoners and Forward Trust alumni. Here Her Royal Highness spoke to those who have worked with and volunteered for the charity in prison and the community and learn how they have been supported to recover from and manage their addictions.
Ahead of Addiction Awareness Week, which will take place from 28th October to 4th November, guests in attendance were celebrating the concept that recovery is possible for all those struggling with an addiction. The Princess’ experience working with addiction charities for more than a decade has helped lay the groundwork for her understanding of the complexities of mental health and has informed much of her work on the early years. Experiences in early childhood, before the age of five, are proven to have significant impact on adult lives, including resilience and the ability to cope with adversity.
The Forward Trust has been helping people break the destructive cycle of addiction and build positive and productive futures since 1991. Delivering a large and diverse range of addiction, employment, and mental health services nationally, The Forward Trust believes that anyone is capable of lasting change.
The Princess became Patron of The Forward Trust in June 2021 when the charity merged with Action on Addiction, which was one of Her Royal Highness’ first Patronages in 2012.