Interserve backs Koestler Trust
18 August 2016
The Interserve Employee Foundation (IEF) is backing a scheme that employs hosts to provide guided tours at an exhibition featuring art created by people in prison or on probation.
The Koestler Trust’s annual art exhibition is being showcased at London’s Southbank Centre from September. The prison arts charity awards, exhibits and sells artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients and the organisation’s national exhibition attracts 20,000 visitors every year.
For the last three years the Trust has employed six hosts – all of whom have experience of the criminal justice system – to work at the gallery showing visitors around the exhibition.
The IEF aims to improve the quality of life in the communities in which Interserve operates. The fund is proud to back the Host Project, having being contacted by the Trust’s chief executive Sally Taylor.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Interserve is supporting the Host Project.
“This year’s exhibition promises to be a great event, we are proud to show the public the talent and potential of people who have offended.
“The Host Project is an extremely important way to meet that objective. Moreover, last year most of the hosts were offered full-time employment by the Southbank Centre – which illustrates how successful the project has become.”
Sally contacted Yvonne Thomas, Interserve (Justice) managing director, to ask if the company could support the charity. Yvonne recommended IEF, and also bought 22 pieces of artwork from this year’s exhibition which will be displayed at the Cunard, one of Interserve’s newest offices.
This year’s exhibition – We are All Human – is curated by acclaimed poet, writer and musician Benjamin Zephaniah and runs from September 15th to November 13th.
Sally said: “The artwork and the hosts both break down barriers and misconceptions people may have about former offenders. I have also seen how the hosts grow in confidence and gain self-esteem from the job.
“I am delighted that Yvonne has promised to buy and display artwork at the Cunard, I cannot think of a more fitting way for Interserve to decorate the building.”
Interserve runs five Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) that deliver probation services across the country.
Yvonne said: “The Host Project is a fantastic scheme and I am especially pleased that Interserve is able to back the initiative.
“Our CRCs deliver world class rehabilitative services and we very much back the ethos of the Koestler Trust because our work shows that – especially with the right support – people can make incredible transformations.”
The Trust was founded by Hungarian polymath Arthur Koestler, who himself endured a period on death row after being imprisoned in Seville during the Spanish civil war.