The Duchess of Cornwall is to attend a number of Royal engagements in Surrey this week.
On Thursday, the wife of Prince Charles will visit HM Prison Coldingley in Woking, before travelling to Guildford to visit the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) and St Catherine’s School.
At Coldingley, Camilla will be meeting with prisoners in the prison library, showing her support for current literacy schemes put in place to help prisoners improve their reading and writing skills. 48% of prisoners have literacy skills at or below Level 1 (Level 1 being what is expected of an 11-year old) and 65% have numeracy skills at or below the same level. The Duchess will also tour the engineering and print workshops, which gives prisoners employment during their incarceration.
The literacy scheme includes ‘Storybook Dads’, which sees men develop their literacy skills and then record an audio story. This story is then put onto a CD and sent out to their families.
The Duchess will then travel to the RASASC to meet and support victims of rape and sexual abuse. She will also meet volunteers, staff and trustees at the centre in Guildford. She has a long association with similar charities, such as Barnardos, Rape Crisis England and The Havens, the latter she visited just last month.
Speaking at Clarence House, the 66-year old said: “I have spoken to so many of these victims whose bravery in speaking out and sharing their stories has been truly humbling – this, as many of you here know is, both for the speaker and for the listener, a harrowing experience.” In 2013, Camilla even came up with the idea of giving victims luxury wash bags as a small gesture of comfort after the trauma they have experienced, and it is hoped that this scheme will be extended past the 2 year trial. The bags include shampoo and body-wash donated by different brands, and are put together by staff at Clarence House.
Then the Duchess of Cornwall will officially open the 125th Anniversary Halls at St Catherine’s School, and will meet and speak with pupils and staff. George Cubitt, Baron Ashcombe, who opened the school in 1885, is the Duchess of Cornwall’s Great-Great Grandfather. Camilla will also visit Ashcombe House, part of the school’s pastoral system, in the Chapel.
Statistics: Home Office, Reducing Reoffending: National Action Plan, p.15 (2004)