Shannon Trust

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Edinburgh House 170 Kennington Lane,
SE11 5DP

0203 752 5513

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Unlocking the power of reading

Learner and Mentor image

'The essence of what we do is in its simplicity. Prisoners who can read teach those who can't.' Shannon Trust Trustee

For most of us, reading is a skill we take for granted. For thousands of people in prison, however, reading a letter from home, a job application or a newspaper is simply beyond them. 46% of prisoners have a literacy level at or below that expected at 11 years old. 

Prisoners teaching prisoners to read makes sense.The one-to-one peer mentored approach of the Shannon Trust Reading Plan appeals to prisoners who are reluctant to engage in classroom learning because:

  • It's one-to-one.
  • They're supported by another prisoner.
  • It's private.
  • There are no exams and they can progress at their own pace.
  • Taking part is their own choice, they are not forced to do it.

The Reading Plan runs in almost all prisons in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prisoners and prison staff are supported by Shannon Trust volunteers who work together to make the Reading Plan available to non-reading prisoners.

Each year thousands of prisoner decide to learn to read with the Shannon Trust Reading Plan. 

How your donation could help. 

Your donation will help to make our vision, 'every prisoner a reader', a reality.

In 2015 we launched our new Reading Programme, Turning Pages. Written specifically for adults in custody, Turning Pages is made up of 5 manuals and 30 readers (emergent reading books). We provide these together with trained volunteers, Mentor training and publicity material free of charge to prisons. 

  • £8 could start unlocking the power of reading for someone in prison by providing their first reading materials.
  • £32 could provide a Turning Pages books that help build confidence and a joy of reading.
  • £50 could provide training and resources for prisoner mentors to reach their peers to read. 
  • £180 could cover the cost of a Shannon Trust volunteer training, supporting and inspiring mentors in prison for a year.

Thank you. 

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