Young Arts | THE ARTS SOCIETY WEYBRIDGE (formerly Weybridge Decorative & Fine Arts Society)

Young Arts

The last visit to Send Prison took place on 10th April 2018 and was organised by Val Shaw. Another visit will take place in October 2018.

Started in 1973, The Arts Society Young Arts provides exciting opportunities for children and young people to expand their horizons through their involvement in creative arts activities. The aim is to inspire young people with a lasting enthusiasm for the arts and an awareness of our arts heritage and its conservation.

The Arts Society Weybridge supports Young Arts in Weybridge and local area by contributing to an arts activity for young people between the ages of 8 and 18.

In October 2009 The Arts Society Weybridge arranged for an artist, Sadie James, who is an MA graduate from Central St. Martins, to visit Send Women's Prison. She took a session at which visiting children of prisoners created paintings with their detained parent. The cost of the event was met by The Arts Society Weybridge. The occasion was a great success, and it was decided to repeat the event annually.

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Since the foundation of The Arts Society Weybridge some seventeen years ago, a variety of Young Arts (YA) projects, mainly involving local schools, have been supported. In October 2009, however, we had the unique opportunity to come together with an organisation known as the “Send Family Link” and, by means of a YA grant, to provide for an art activity at HMP Send, a closed female prison with approximately 280 inmates situated just outside the village of Send, near Woking in Surrey.

On 2nd October 2017 the whole of the Send Family Link Charity was passed over to the Prison Advice and Care Trust ("PACT"), an independent UK charity that provides practical services for prisoners and prisoners' families. It is situated in the Visitor Centre immediately outside the prison gates.

Its primary objective is to help families maintain relationships during a prison sentence and to help reduce the emotional stress when a child visits its mother. They seek to make visits to prison a positive experience for children whilst at the same time enhancing the quality of visits for adults by giving them the opportunity to be with their children in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. To this end, they organise special Family Day visits to HMP Send six times a year. Provision is made for children to share activities or play with the prisoner under the active encouragement and supervision of a dedicated team of PACT volunteers. On Family Visit Days, children arrive during the morning, some having travelled considerable distances to be with their mother. There are usually about 20 at any one time with an age range up to about 16 years old. The entire day is spent with their mothers but the main “play” activity, organised by PACT, takes place after lunch.

Most recently, on 10th April 2018 Val Shaw and Carol Guthrie attended the HMP Send Family Day on behalf of The Arts Society Weybridge. Approximately 30 children with ages ranging from 5 years to sixteen years visited their mothers for a day of craft activities. Samantha Harvey, Artist (recommended by the previous artist, Naomi Beavers) provided the materials and experience in organising pillow case painting, photo frame making and other activities from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. The cost to The Arts Society Weybridge was about £350. The day was most successful and greatly appreciated by the inmates and carers alike.

Enquiries about Young Arts can be sent by email to our Young Arts committee member, Val Shaw, at ya@theartssocietyweybridge.org.uk

See letter below from Send Family Link about the change of Send Family Link to PACT as of October 2017