Our history

Shannon Trust was started by Christopher Morgan in 1997 following a long correspondence with a life sentenced prisoner, Tom Shannon, in a scheme run by The Prison Reform Trust.

Through Tom’s letters, Christopher learned about prison life and the shocking levels of poor literacy amongst prisoners. In 1995 the letters were put together in a book titled, ‘Invisible Crying Tree’. The royalties from the book were used to found Shannon Trust.

We work closely with prisons and prisoners to make the Shannon Trust Reading Plan available to any prisoner who could benefit from improving their reading, or from being a mentor to others. Shannon Trust provides all resources and training to prisons free of charge. Our Reading Plan is operating in almost every prison in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

We're a small organisation with nine employed staff but with over 120 Volunteers. Most volunteers are paired up with their local prison to support delivery of the Reading Plan. Our funding currently comes from Trusts and Foundations, Big Lottery, private donations and income from sales of Turning Pages outside of prisons.

The ethos of the Reading Plan and the work undertaken by Shannon Trust is that it is ‘By prisoners, for prisoners'.