Insights from The Sorrell Foundation's Lady Frances Sorrell

Insights from Lady Frances Sorrell, one of the founders of the National Art&Design Saturday Club scheme.

Insights from The Sorrell Foundation's Lady Frances Sorrell

(This is an item from our archive site) After being an attendee of the National Art and Design Saturday Club (NADSC) for two years now, I could talk for weeks about how much I love and cherish the experience; so, when I got the chance to talk to Lady Frances Sorrell, one of the founders of the scheme, it was a delight to hear what she had to say.

Over the course of the interview, Frances gave me a wonderful insight into the origin of The Sorrell Foundation and the many pathways it takes- NADSC being one. We chatted over key elements and moments over the 12 years: from when Frances and her husband Sir John Sorrell sold their very successful design company- "giving something back", to the importance of freedom of education.

Having such a massive internationally renowned company, I was really interested into why they sold it in the first place, and how both John and Frances, from the 'first generation' of Saturday arts clubs, re-established the course.

"Grown from the kitchen table", was the phrase used to describe the roots of their business. After years of nourishing and expanding this, Sir John and Lady Sorrell subsequently moved forward, starting fun projects coming out of the newly formed foundation. The focus of the initial projects were that the "client team were kids". This really reflects on the couple's modesty, investment in the arts sector and continuation and engagement in free arts education.

With such passion obvious, we came back to the now, primary focus of the foundation- NADSC. The couple hope to enrol 'Saturday Arts' across 50% of the 100 specialist art and design educational establishments throughout the UK, creating a "national network", and a chance for young people to "step outside the curriculum", gaining knowledge on design skills useful in not only work- but life.

With all of this being hugely of significance to me, it was to no surprise that when asked, the lovely Lady Sorrell gave great words of encouragement to those wanting to break through into the arts: "If you love it, do it! The creative industries- it's enormously diverse... keep talking to people".

This echoed the whole tone of the conversation; that while measures of austerity and budget cuts are happening all around us, seemingly undermining the importance of art and creativity, it is in fact thriving.

Finally, just having the chance to experience working with great professionals or gain skills through NADSC, or indeed Arts Award, (which Frances recognised as a "merit... a milestone to progress") is fundamental to having that all important "look in the kitchen".

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Sally Trivett

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Sally Trivett is a UK based artist and educator. She has recently graduated from Wimbledon College of Art, and is currently studying for her PGCE in Primary Education.

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