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British RoyalsThe Cambridges

The Duchess of Cambridge looks ‘Forward’ with visit to HMP Send


The Duchess of Cambridge visited HMP Send, a women’s prison in Surrey, on the final leg of her 24-hour UK tour; reuniting with women she’d met on a previous visit in 2015 and meeting with new women to discuss the Forward Programme.

The scheme, implemented by the Forward Trust, provides “intensive, abstinence-based addiction services in the UK, working across the country to empower people to break the often-interlinked cycles of addiction or crime and move forward with their lives,” according to the Trust’s website.

At HMP Send, the Forward program offers the UK’s only 12-step prison-based drug and alcohol programme for women.

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The Forward Trust notes on its website that since Kate’s last visit in 2015, the programme has expanded and supported over 200 more women with “more one-on-one support and mindfulness workshops.”

Her last visit was organised by the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust, and was supported through her work with one of her patronages, Action On Addiction.

“We are delighted to welcome The Duchess of Cambridge back to HMP Send to hear more about the difference our expanded treatment programme is making and to see first-had how transformational change can happen,” said Forward’s CEO, Mike Trace, in a blog post on the Forward Trust’s website.

“We are grateful for the Duchess’s continued commitment in raising the profile of our services and her belief that people are more than their past. If you give people the opportunity to prove themselves, they can do amazing things and we will continue to work to support thousands more people into lasting recovery.”

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Kate visited HMP Send as part of her launch of the 5 Big Questions for the Under 5s survey, which will act as a blueprint for her Early Years Programme.

While talking with a group of women, Kate mentioned her shock to learn “how early the challenges were that you face. How early you could take it back,” when she last visited.

When another woman told her that prison was the best thing that happened to her, Kate said, “It’s so often I hear that, why does it have to get to that point before people receive the help and support?”

As reported in the Daily Mail, Kate said, “I’m hugely passionate about trying to really help get us into this crisis, trying to help provide that prevention mechanism and that support system in our communities. Particularly that support in the early years of life.”

Three of the ex-offenders that Kate spoke to told her that they could pinpoint their problems to their childhood.

Kensington Palace noted on Twitter that Kate’s visit was to see the work of Forward as it helps “in supporting clients to improve their relationships with friends and family, including reconnecting with children.”

HMP Send’s Governor, Carlene Dixon, said that Kate’s visit was important to highlight Forward’s work as “Many of our prisoners have suffered trauma and abuse in their childhoods and a number struggle with drug and alcohol problems. It is vital that we empower offenders so we can move them away from crime for good and ultimately improve public safety.”

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.