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London College of Fashion awarded £4 million grant for groundbreaking outreach

Written by Bunmi Ekundayo
Published date 25 February 2020

We are delighted to announce that London College of Fashion (LCF) has received a major grant of £4 million from the Sir John Cass’s Foundation, which will go towards our social responsibility work. £200,000 per year for the next 10 years will enable LCF to continue its ground-breaking community engagement work with female prisoners and ex-offenders, giving them skills, qualifications and increasing confidence and wellbeing, as well as working with new community groups in east London.

This extraordinary donation – the second-largest in UAL’s history – is the result of long-standing collaborative work between LCF’s Social Responsibility team and the UAL Development department, building upon a decade-long relationship with the Foundation. We are extremely grateful to the Trustees and staff of the Sir John Cass’s Foundation for this wonderful support, which represents the largest grant made by the Foundation in over a decade.

LCF’s Making for Change initiative started at a women’s prison in 2014, with the aim of reducing rates of female re-offending by offering offenders industry recognised skills and commercial experience including Level 1 and 2 ABD qualifications in fashion and textiles. It aims to address the skills gap in London for machinists, as well as preparing the women and giving them opportunities for life after release. Making for Change has supported 90 female prisoners to date, since 2014, every participant at HMP Downview has gained their Level 1 qualification, and 5 women who have since been released from prison are now in employment.

The remaining £2 million from the grant will contribute towards the development of LCF’s new home at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, support which will be recognised through establishing The Cass Centre for Social Impact. This week we reach a major milestone in our move east with the opening of Poplar Works, a teaching, training, manufacture and studio space created in partnership with Poplar HARCA and The Trampery. Poplar Works includes a second Making for Change manufacture unit, where the skills and training opportunities previously offered in the prison will now be open to a wider group of applicants in the local community, through a partnership with Newham College.

We are delighted to continue our decade-long partnership with the Sir John Cass’s Foundation, as both organisations share a commitment to the role of education, and in particular creative education, in shaping the lives of young people.

Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London says:

“As London College of Fashion prepares to move to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, we have a strong responsibility to expand our offer to our new east London neighbours - creatively addressing the needs of young people in schools, local businesses, and community groups. With this opportunity to further develop our greatly-valued relationship with Sir John Cass’s Foundation I hope we can fulfil these important aspirations together and emerge as leaders in the field of social impact.

Projects led by London College of Fashion are an excellent example of the value of this engagement, and also of the way in which our outreach agenda informs the development of our courses; encouraging our students to participate and to consider how their creative practices can contribute to wider society.”