Joyous awards ceremony at the Bracton

From left, Patsy Fung, Occupational Therapy Technical Instructor Louise Sheridan, Cllr Sandhu, Jackie Craissati, Chief Inspector Paul Anderson, Paul Squire, John Enser
From left, Patsy Fung, Occupational Therapy Technical Instructor Louise Sheridan, Cllr Sandhu, Jackie Craissati, Chief Inspector Paul Anderson, Paul Squire, John Enser

Excelling at the annual Koestler awards has become something of a tradition in our Forensic and Prison Services. This year was no exception and, in addition, the ceremony held at the Bracton Centre, our medium secure unit, on 3 March also saw the presentation of a number of other awards.

The Koestler Trust is the UK's best-known prison arts charity. It has been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients for 50 years, inspiring entrants to take part in the arts, work for achievement and transform their lives.

Introducing the Koestler Awards, Director, forensic and Prison Services, John Enser, said: "I am pleased to announce, that from over 8,000 national entries, the Bracton Centre service users won a fantastic 16 awards with this prestigious prisons' art charity."

The awards were presented by the Mayor of Dartford, Cllr Avtar Sandhu, and what was striking was the rapturous applause as each winner was named. In addition to the one platinum, one gold, three bronze, four highly commended and seven commended awards, certificates were awarded to everyone who had entered work. As Cllr Sandhu said, "Like sport, art brings people together. Everyone who has taken part has contributed to their local community and that makes you a winner."

The Patrick Joyce Memorial Awards were presented by Forensic and Prison Services' Clinical Director, Jackie Craissati. Paying tribute to Patrick, Jackie said: "These new awards are in memory of Patrick Joyce, a creative artist who discovered his talent for painting when he attended art sessions at the Bracton. His made unique, wonderful, colourful paintings, won many Koestler awards and also exhibited and sold his work. We hope that each year these awards will help to encourage those artists who work independently with creativity and self-expression. "

Police Sergeant Paul Squire of the Dartford Community Safety Unit presented the Judo Awards to people who had taken part in 12 weekly judo sessions.

The Memorial Hospital Car Wash Employee of the Year Award was presented by Lead Occupational Therapist Patsy Fung. Patsy also presented the Wellbeing Awards in recognition of the great efforts of both service users and staff to make the Wellbeing Strategy, launched last October, such a success. Patsy explained that wellbeing was all about looking after both physical and mental health.

Published on 4th March 2015