The art awards scheme for offenders, secure patients and detainees

We’re the UK’s best-known prison arts charity. We’ve been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients for over 50 years.

Our awards receive over 8,000 entries a year – inspiring offenders to take part in the arts, work for achievement and transform their lives. Our national exhibition attracts 20,000 visitors – showing the public the talent and potential of offenders and people in secure settings.

We have no endowment or capital – our work depends entirely on donations.

Read more about us

Wet Sunday, HM Prison Nottingham, First Koestler Award winner for Painting , 1962

How we’re funded

We currently receive a public sector grant from the National Offender Management Service of £75,000, about a tenth of our annual turnover and since 2015 this has been matched by a grant from Arts Council England as we became a National Portfolio Organisation. For the remainder, we rely on donations from individuals, businesses, trusts and foundations. We have no endowment, capital or reserves.

We couldn’t function without the extraordinary commitment and enthusiasm of staff across the establishments that enter the Koestler Awards. We’re especially grateful to Her Majesty’s Prison Service and the National Offender Management Service, which provide us with our premises next to HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs and help us distribute publicity, prizes and artworks across the criminal justice system.

We partner with prestigious arts venues across the country to make our ambitious exhibitions and events programmes possible. Recent collaborations include Southbank Centre, Glasgow Tramway, birmingham mac, Castlefield Gallery, Wales Millennium Centre, BALTIC, Bridlington Festival and the British Council (Venice Biennale).

Thank you to the following individuals and organisations who currently support the Koestler Trust with donations and grants, and to all those who wish to remain anonymous.

Major Supporters

  • Arts Council England
  • APM
  • CCLA
  • Dawes Trust
  • Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Hammersmith United Charities
  • Henry Smith Charity
  • Interserve Employee Foundation
  • Lloyds Bank Foundation
  • Monument Trust
  • National Offender Management Service
  • Partnerships in Care
  • Robertson Trust
  • Serco
  • Sodexo Justice Services
  • Triangle Trust

Scholarship Supporters

  • Barrow Cadbury Trust
  • Bromley Trust
  • Lady Edwina Grosvenor
  • Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Trust
  • Monument Trust
  • MTC Novo
  • Catherine Norris
  • William Arthur Rudd Memorial Trust

Trusts, foundations, organisations & businesses

  • A B Charitable Trust
  • Alchemy Foundation
  • Artists’ Collecting Society
  • ATQ
  • CD Stockwell Charitable Trust
  • City Bridge Trust
  • Clifford Chance Foundation
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
  • Doughty Street Chambers
  • Edith Murphy Foundation
  • Ericson Trust
  • Fitton Trust
  • G4S
  • Goldsmiths’ Company
  • Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust
  • Greater London DFAS
  • Jacana Care Trust
  • Jessie Spencer Trust
  • Malvern Hills DFAS
  • Matthew Trust
  • Michael Varah Memorial Fund
  • Odin Charitable Trust
  • Ofenheim Charitable Trust
  • Oliver Fisher Solicitors
  • Paul Lunn-Rockliffe Charitable Trust
  • Pitt-Rivers Charitable Trust
  • Prisoners Abroad
  • Rayne Foundation
  • Reece Thomas Watson Solicitors
  • Robert Gavron Charitable Trust
  • Royal Holloway University School of Law
  • Shearman Bowen & Co. Solicitors
  • Souter Trust
  • Swain & Co. Solicitors
  • Unilink
  • United Agents
  • Worshipful Company of Weavers
  • Wates Foundation

Individuals

  • Suzanne Ash
  • Rosemary Bartholomew
  • Sarah Baxter
  • Jane Beddall
  • Ben Birnberg
  • Clare Bowman
  • Sue Bradbury OBE
  • Tom & Gilly Brent
  • Pierce Brunt
  • Mary Brown
  • Julie Burden
  • Mr & Mrs Carlisle
  • Peter Carter
  • John Chambers
  • Zelda Cheatle
  • Lady Gillian Chipperfield
  • Freya, Stephen & Kim Clarke
  • E A Collins
  • Jane Corry
  • James Cox
  • Charity Crewe
  • Geoffrey Crossick
  • Judith Cuxson
  • Anna Dale-Harris
  • Rachel House & Jo David
  • Keith Davies
  • Emma Daykin
  • Helen Dessent
  • Victoria Dickie
  • Frances Done
  • Robert Dufton
  • Michael Edwards
  • Peter Damian Entwistle
  • Angela Findlay
  • Dan Francis
  • Norman Franklin
  • Elizabeth Forster
  • Adam Freudenheim
  • Georg Galberg
  • Phoebe Gardiner
  • Alastair Gavin
  • Judy Goldhill
  • Pat & Bill Gordon
  • Roger Graef
  • Gavin Graham
  • J S Gray
  • Timothy Greene
  • Henry & Alison Grunwald
  • Maggi Hambling
  • Christine Hardy
  • Eleanor Heine
  • Lesley Heritage
  • Paul Hills
  • Aaron Ho
  • Patrick Holmes
  • Gillian Hope
  • Carlos Hood
  • Richard & Penny Ireland
  • Fanny Jacob
  • Gaskell & Jennifer Jacobs
  • Mel James
  • Catherine Johnson
  • Margaret Johnson
  • Ursula Jones
  • Joseph & Jill Karaviotis
  • Lady Keene
  • Jane Kemp
  • William & Jane King
  • Richard Lamberth
  • Nicola Lees
  • Nick Le Mesurier
  • Miriam Lewis
  • Ellen Lloyd
  • Theresa Lloyd
  • Andrea & Mark Long
  • Dr Stephen Loud
  • Ursula Lucas
  • Edwin Lucas
  • A MacFarlane
  • Elizabeth Mackie
  • Zoe Martin
  • Andy McNeill
  • Helen Meixner
  • Sir Graham Melmoth
  • Caro Millington
  • James Minter
  • Peter & Marian Moore
  • Paul & Sandra Monks
  • Dinah & Alan Moses
  • Celia Mudie
  • David Munro
  • Carol O’Brien
  • Anita Ottaviani
  • Philippa Owen
  • Adrienne Page
  • Becky & Ian Palmer
  • Jonathan Parkhouse
  • Jane Parvin
  • Malcom & Faye Payne
  • Geoffrey Peaker
  • Grayson Perry
  • Janet Peskin
  • John Phillipson
  • Simon Pickard
  • John Plummer
  • Becky Pointon
  • Stuart & Caroline Proffitt
  • Lord Ramsbotham
  • Caroline Reekie
  • Andrew Ritchie
  • Tim Robertson
  • Julia Rogerson
  • Peter Roscoe
  • Caroline Royds
  • Jean Russell-Smith
  • Dorothy Salmon
  • Jamie Sharpley
  • Dr Peter Selby
  • Jenny Sheridan
  • Susannah Simons
  • Rose Simpson
  • Gail Smart
  • Hayley Sothinathan
  • Diana Spiegelberg
  • Tom Stacey
  • Alison Stanley
  • Caroline Starling
  • Amanda Taylor
  • Ruth Taylor
  • Anne Vickers
  • Andy Verschoyle
  • Jo Watters-Pawlowski
  • John Weightman
  • Robin & Margaret Weiss
  • Simon
  • Peter Wickstead
  • Brian K Wignall
  • James Wood, QC
  • Dr Thomas Wynn
  • Tim Yealland
  • Sally Zimmerman
  • Carola Zogolovitch