About the National Saturday Club

How it works

The National Saturday Club gives 13–16-year-olds across the country the opportunity to study subjects they love at their local university, college or cultural institution, for free.

Offering dynamic creative learning programmes in eight subject areas – Art&Design, Craft&Making, Fashion&Business, Film&Screen, Performance&Theatre, Science&Engineering, Society&Change and Writing&Talking – the model works to develop young people’s skills, nurture their talents and encourage their creativity.

Last year, 1,800 young people attended 94 Saturday Clubs in 72 host institutions nationwide. This transformational programme is made possible by the energy and commitment of 400+ tutors, 200+ student assistants, and 500+ industry partners. The National Saturday Club year commences with the London Visit, where Club members from across the country come together for the first time to see their self-portraits on display at Central Saint Martins and attend specially arranged tours of some of the UK’s leading cultural institutions. In addition to weekly Saturday sessions delivered by expert tutors, the arrival of the spring term brings with it the unique experience that is a National Saturday Club Masterclass. Previous Masterclasses have been led by industry professionals from Adobe, Alexander McQueen, English National Opera, Finisterre, Flight Crowd, Industrial Light & Magic, and more. To conclude the year and celebrate their achievements, Club members exhibit their work at London’s prestigious Somerset House, as part of the annual Summer Show.

As a powerful, countrywide network of shared knowledge and best practice, the model represents an exceptional opportunity to build young people’s creative skills and embolden them to become the next generation of innovators and imaginative thinkers. It also serves to connect educators and industry professionals so young people are better informed about the choices that exist for further education and rewarding careers.

The History

The National Saturday Club is a new model but not a new idea. Between the late 1940s and 1970s, art schools across the country opened their doors on Saturdays to give young teenagers a taste of what it would be like to study art after leaving school. For many of today’s artists and designers, it was the start of their creative and entrepreneurial careers.

This initiative was the inspiration for the National Saturday Club. The Club’s co-founders, John and Frances Sorrell, both started their professional journeys by attending these Saturday art classes. John and Frances ran an internationally successful design business, Newell and Sorrell, before setting up The Sorrell Foundation in 1999, with the aim of inspiring creativity in young people. After 10 years of developing pioneering educational programmes, the Foundation launched the first National Art&Design Saturday Club in 2009.

Since the initial pilot with four colleges, the Saturday Club network has grown and flourished. The Art&Design Club was so successful that it became clear the model could be applied to other subjects and industry sectors. Currently, there are Clubs in Science&Engineering, Fashion&Business, Film&Media, Society&Change and Writing&Talking.

The Saturday Club Trust

In 2016, the Saturday Club Trust was launched as an independent charity to take over the development of the National Saturday Club from The Sorrell Foundation.

The Saturday Club Trust, through its trustees, advisory groups and staff, working with host institutions, will consolidate and develop existing Clubs and explore the potential for developing National Saturday Clubs to offer this opportunity to more young people across the UK.

The Trustees of the Saturday Club Trust are Sir Nigel Carrington (Chair), Katie Greenyer, Russell Lloyd, Krishna Maroo, Professor Nona McDuff OBE, Sim Scavazza, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Lady Frances Sorrell OBE, Philip Watkins.

The charity receives public funding from the Department for Education and the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is also supported by the British Film Institute, British Fashion Council, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, The Clore Duffield Foundation, and industry partners.


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