Blog

  1. 'No one is a criminal and nothing else.'

    I was fortunate: my education nurtured a love of books and an interest in the written word. I cannot imagine being unable to read, but it is well known that it severely reduces your life chances. If, to paraphrase Archbishop William Temple, ‘no one is a criminal and nothing else’, making something of yourself if you are a prisoner is even harder if you cannot read. So, the attraction of doing something to help Shannon Trust is considerable. Helping rehabilitate prisoners (however pious and ‘do-gooding’ that might sound) is what motivated me to become a prison governor (and a prison visitor before that). So, helping the Shannon Trust is a way of finding a new focus for that motivation following my retirement.

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  2. Helping make informed choices

    A prison governor recently told us how the Reading Plan is crucial to the foreign national men in his prison. He explained how learning to read 'helps the men here make informed choices about their futures' as they deal with the complexity of their situation, their futures and their day-to-day lives.

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  3. Reading: a crucial part of family life

    This summer saw the publication of the final report of Lord Farmer’s review. The report, commissioned by the Secretary of State in 2016, looked at how supporting men in prison to maintain or improve families ties while in custody gives them a better chance of not returning. There’s a raft of evidence that staying in touch with family and supportive friends reduces the risk of reoffending.

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  4. Shannon Trust wins Action for Equity Award for combatting inequalities

    Shannon Trust is delighted to be awarded the first Action for Equity Award for combatting inequalities through the Reading Plan. The Action for Equity Award, part of the Atlantic Fellows programme for Social and Economic Equity, based at the London School of Economics and Political Science, seeks to champion and support the ongoing work of charities who are working to address major inequalities in society.

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  5. ‘We are so many things…..so why only pick on one?’

    You may have seen the recent campaign by the organisation London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) in the media. The message on their posters is powerful. One reads ‘brother, student, gym lover, son, boyfriend, citizen, youth, apprentice, child of nature, lover of life, Gypsy. We are all so many things. So who only pick on one?’ Another gives the labels ‘daughter, ambitious, student, vegetarian, runner, amateur florist, Zumba lover, carer, Traveller’.

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  6. The Magical World of Books

    On the shelves of my overladen bookcase, sit some of those books because I have fond memories of reading them as a child. And this is the key because the majority of people learn to read when they are little most of the books they borrow from libraries or read with friends and family are written for children. They are age appropriate. This is great. Who doesn’t love a good children’s book? But if you are starting to learn to read as an adult a book about being afraid of the dark or a dog with spots might not be what you want.

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  7. Unlocking the power of reading

    When I was a child, my mum used to go out one evening a week. She would spend a couple of hours at a local school with a man who wanted to learn to read. This was her adult literacy night. I don’t know if I remember being surprised that a grown up couldn’t read but many people are unaware it’s still very much a problem around the globe today. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) gives the figure of 758 million people over the age of 15 who struggle with all things literacy. In England, an estimated 5.2 million adults can’t read or have low literacy levels. With the stigma attached to admitting you can’t read it’s possible these numbers are much higher.

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  8. A week in the life of a Regional Manager

    Jon, one of our Regional Managers, talks about a typical week for him supporting our volunteers and the Reading Plans in South Wales and the South of England.

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  9. 'When you start to read it makes you want to write' Guest blog from author and Shannon Trust ambassador, Andy Croft

    I’m back inside. After various stretches in HMPs Holme House, Durham, Low Newton, Frankland, Moorland and Lindholme, I am about to start a couple of short writing residencies at HMPs Northumberland and Holme House.

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  10. Turning Pages Changing Lives Report

    Since its launch in July 2015, Turning Pages has been used by more than 6,000 people in prison to begin the life-changing journey that starts when you learn to read. During this time we've had a huge amount of positive feedback from Learners, Mentors, volunteers and prison staff about the manuals and reading books, and the progress people were making using them. It was important for us to add to this feedback an independent, academic evaluation and so we commissioned Birmingham City University to evaluate Turning Pages. Their report ‘Turning Pages, Changing Lives’ was published earlier this week.

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