Our President, Dame Penelope Keith,

The Directors were delighted that our President, Dame Penelope Keith, star of stage and small screen, was awarded recognised in the 2014 New  Year's Honours List for her services to the Arts and Charity following the CBE awarded for ‘charitable services’ in 2007.

Penelope became Patron of our charity in 2004 and President of KeepOut in 2011. She had visited the (then) Coldingley Crime Diversion Scheme during her year as High Sheriff of Surrey in 2002-03 and was so impressed by the performing arts and presentation skills of the prisoners delivering the programme – and the impact the messages had on young people – that she agreed to become Patron.

Since then, she has proactively promoted the scheme in the media, acts as our advocate with members of the judiciary, and regularly attends KeepOut events to promote the life-changing opportunities offered by KeepOut – The Crime Diversion Scheme.  

The following are some of her observations at various KeepOut events attended:
“During my year as High Sheriff of Surrey, I was most moved and impressed by my visits to HMP Coldingley to witness the Crime Diversion Scheme. It is very easy to be seduced into the mistaken belief that there is no poverty or deprivation in Surrey. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are considerable numbers in this county who are excluded, especially amongst those of a young and impressionable age. lt is to these young people that the Crime Diversion Scheme is aimed. 2004

What remains etched upon my mind are the faces of the young people who were taking part in the scheme. Some were withdrawn, reluctant and resentful. Others had a false bravado about them, believing they could handle prison and all that entails. Within the space of two hours, a transformation had begun: the withdrawn became a little, just a little more, outgoing and those with bravado had begun to think. The reality of prison and life there had begun to strike home.

The Coldingley Crime Diversion Scheme is reliant not only upon money for its continuation but on the continuing goodwill and desire of the prisoners at Coldingley to give something back to society, to make amends for their past misdeeds and most of all, an overwhelming desire to prevent those young people following in their path.

I have nothing but admiration for those prisoners who stand before an audience, some of whom are hostile, and expose their lives, misdeeds and innermost fears in an effort to stop their audience from treading the same path. It is in all our interests to do what we can to prevent these young people from continuing down the path of crime and misery. Coldingley is perhaps the final barrier to arrest that journey. I urge those who can, to visit Coldingley and dare you not to be moved by what you see. I am proud to be Patron.”

In 2011.speaking as President of KeepOut, she said
"I am privileged to be part of such an excellent scheme.  I am excited about its future and in particular the planned developments.  I attended the event to Launch KeepOut in HMP Lewes in 2011.  This highlighted the fantastic work accomplished by the scheme, supporting the rehabilitation of offenders and the education of young people not to offend or re-offend.  The prisoner team produced a polished presentation demonstrating the skills they have learnt and the techniques they use to pass on the key messages to young people."


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© KeepOut 2016 | Registered Charity Number 1139114 | A Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England Number 07170069

Most recently,at the launch of KeepOut in
HMP Brixton:

“KeepOut expanded its operation to HMP Brixton in 2014 which has enabled an increased number of events to be offered to young people, particularly from London Boroughs, as well as increasing the number of serving prisoners working with us."