Koestler Awards Ceremony at the Festival Hall 20th September 2017

Vicky Field and Jackie Ball receiving a copy of Arts Society Cambridge Under 18 award at the Preview of the Koestler Awards at the Festival Hall on the Southbank. With Sally Taylor (left) and Mali Clements(right) from the Koestler Trust. The exhibition runs until the 15 November.

Each year the Arts Society Cambridge aim to give young people in all walks of life the opportunity to get involved with creative arts activities.

In 2017, the Arts Society Cambridge donated £1000 to the Koestler Trust, a leading supporter of Art in Prisons.

Their annual competition and awards scheme showcases the talent and potential of offenders, secure patients and detainees. This year’s competition is curated Sir Antony Gormley and he has chosen ‘Inside’ as its theme.

Our donation will fund a number of awards across a range of art forms in the Under 25 category. We shall receive copies of the winning artwork once the entries have been judged.

The exhibition (to which we are all invited) is open to the public from Thursday 21st September – Wednesday 15th November 2017 at the Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX on the Southbank Centre and is free to all. (nearest tube Waterloo or Embankment).



In 2016, Cambridge DFAS donated £1000 to Eddie’s, a local charity, which supports young people with learning difficulties. Their drama and performing arts group – known as Troublemakers, meet weekly and get involved with all aspects of the performing arts be it drama, dance or music.

They also have the opportunity to design props and sets and all this undoubtedly helps develop communication skills, confidence and self – expression. This year Troublemakers students have been gaining experience both behind and infront of the camera and have worked towards producing a short film

The film is entitled ‘The Case of the Missing Yapper” and is based on a small toy dog that one of the members brings to class each week. Yapper is lost and each of the group members has a different idea of his whereabouts or his fate!

Our donation made it possible for this film to have a public screening at Junction 3 in May. The film’s premier was a huge success with cakes and refreshments provided by the students and over 80 people attending. Jackie Ball and a few of the NADFAS committee were invited to the event which was a very sociable occasion with a lively atmosphere. It was not hard to see that the students got a real boost from seeing their work on the big screen and infront of such a large audience.

In July there was a second screening, this time in the Cinemobile Tent at the Big Weekend on Parker’s Piece.

Marika Newman, Eddie’s Performing Arts Tutor said “we are thrilled to receive such a wonderful grant from Cambridge DFAS which has given us the opportunity to showcase the group’s film. .The group have worked really hard producing the film and are very excited about seeing it on the big screen. It simply wouldn’t have been possible to do this without the financial support we’ve received”.

Golden Globes or Oscars next stop perhaps? ... Wherever their recent success leads, we must congratulate these wonderful young people on their creative skills and wish them well in the future. 


In 2015 we gave a grant to Centre 33 in Cambridge to enable a goup of young carers to go to London for a day of exploration and observation in at least one major gallery or museum to be chosen by the carers with the support of experts at Centre 33.  Here is what Kate Rees, the Young Carers Service Manager wrote:

Grant from Cambridge Decorative and Fine Arts Society for £700

Many young carers face barriers to accessing activities and through this grant we were able to take a group of 8 young carers for a wonderful day exploring London’s galleries from the Victoria and Albert to the National Portrait Gallery. We enjoyed a lunch in Trafalgar Square, and having been inspired spent time sketching and photographing the sights of town.

Each young person was specifically selected as have shown an interested in arts, or have applied for colleges or placements based on the arts. This day trip allowed them each the opportunity to visit and add to already existing portfolios of work. 

One of the young people that joined us for the day, had experienced extreme trauma last year which resulted in her withdrawing from the project completely, knowing her passion for arts this grant and day trip presented us with the opportunity to re-engage her. On the day trip, not only did she thoroughly enjoy herself, but also re-connected with a friend that she had not seen for over a year which was wonderful.

The young people when asked about the day said…….

  • Today was the first time I have been to London. I enjoyed going in the galleries.
  •  I would be more confident to go to London again
  • I liked the art, especially sitting in Trafalgar Square doing the sketches
  • I enjoyed walking around London and seeing the sights. It was good to have a day out from home.
  • Today was great fun, I haven’t ever been anywhere like this and I loved all the paintings.
  • It was really good to see K again as I haven’t seen her in ages
  • I enjoyed looking around the art galleries and doing some sketches
  • I enjoyed going to London again, it’s been a while since I’ve been

Thank you for your support and enabling us to offer such a great opportunity to our young carers.

We are very grateful to Centre 33 for being our partners in this exciting new venture.

Last year we were delighted to support the work of the play specialists at the East Anglia Children's Hospice in Milton who use art to help build relationships, develop physical, emotional, cognitive, social and communication skills, create happy memories, help children manage difficult situations and most of all have fun.

When Patricia Fay founded NADFAS she said "Above all NADFAS must be fun" and we think enabling young people and their families to have fun with art in challenging circumstances embraces that spirit.