Ormiston Trust patron Laura Trott visits an Ormiston academy and Ormiston project work in Norwich

A former Number 10 Downing Street adviser who is a new patron of the Ormiston Trust experienced two of our successful projects on a visit to Norwich.

Ormiston Trust patron Laura Trott first went to Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey and then spent time at the Visitors Centre at HMP Norwich to see the work of the Ormiston Families project based there.

Ormiston Trust is a national charity based in East Anglia that works to improve the life chances of children and young people so they can fulfil their potential and lead happy and productive adult lives. They oversee Ormiston Academies Trust, one of the country’s leading school sponsors, and Ormiston Families, which provides services to support children and young people from disadvantaged communities and at risk of social exclusion.

At Ormiston Victory Academy, she visited science, English and art lessons, and then gave advice to a group of sixth-form students aiming to win places at Russell Group universities, including Oxbridge. She also met the Principal, Naomi Palmer, and the Chief Executive of the school’s sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), Toby Salt. OAT oversees 30 academies in England, several in East Anglia.

At HMP Norwich, she spoke with practitioners of Ormiston Families who provide support, information and a personal induction for first-time visitors to help them access the services available to them. The team also facilitates special visits for children in a dedicated playroom; baby-bonding visits for prisoner, partner and new baby soon after birth; parenting courses for fathers and step-fathers who are prisoners; and “Story Book Dads”, a project through which fathers, step-fathers or grandfathers can record stories on to discs for his child/children to listen to.

Laura Trott, who studied history and economics at Oxford University, said: “I have always argued that where you are born shouldn’t determine where you end up and so I was honoured to become a patron of an inspirational charity that shares exactly the same belief. To see first-hand what they are achieving for children, young people and families was an enormous privilege.

“I was struck by the aspirations of the ambitious students I met at Ormiston Victory Academy, and how they are encouraged by their teachers to aim high to fulfil their potential. The commitment and skill of staff at Ormiston Families was clear in how they bring families together in difficult times, for the benefit of parents and children, and the wider community.”

Toby Salt, Chief Executive of OAT, said: “OAT has always been a trust committed to helping all students, whatever their background, achieve their very best, which is absolutely in tune with the ethos of Ormiston Trust. Victory Academy is a great example of what makes our schools successful and it was a pleasure to introduce Laura to the high-quality education we provide.”

Debbie Campbell, Service Manager at Ormiston Families HMP Norwich, said: “We were delighted to welcome Laura and to show her the work we do to support families in need of our services. Maintaining the bond between fathers and their children is hugely important for their futures, and we are proud to deliver work that matters.”

Peter Murray, Chair of Ormiston Trust, said: “Extraordinary work is done every day across our charity, thanks to the incredible work of teachers, practitioners and volunteers all dedicated to improving lives. We are delighted that Laura has joined the team and was able to visit just two of our projects making such a positive difference.”

Naomi Palmer, Principal of Ormiston Victory Academy, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Laura to Ormiston Victory – her roundtable discussion with our sixth form students was very powerful in embedding our academy ethos of high aspirations for all.”