Like every person and every organisation, we’re changing how we do things in response to the Covid-19 virus.


Like every person and every organisation, we’re changing how we do things in response to the Covid-19 virus.

Our priority is the safety of those who live and work in prisons, our volunteers and staff.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at ways in which people in prison could continue to learn to read with Shannon Trust. As the situation has developed, the reality is that Shannon Trust activity will be paused in most prisons.

We know learning to read makes a difference to the lives of people in prison and to those around them. It helps them stay connected, mend broken relationships and opens up the possibility of a new and different life. And so we’re determined to be ready to support learners, mentors and prison staff as soon as we’re able to.

We’re doing this by:

  • Continuing work that’s not dependent on prison visits.
  • Keeping in touch with our volunteers by switching from meetings to calls and video calls.

  • Recognising prison staff are working in incredibly difficult and worrying times. We’re keeping communication with them to a minimum but continue to support those who are able to stay in touch.
  • Getting messages across to our learners, mentors and the wider prison community through our partnership with National Prison Radio.
  • Monitoring the impacts of the situation and planning for when the reading programme can start again.
  • Recruiting volunteers. We’ve switched from face-to-face interviews to calls and video calls. Workshops for new volunteers planned for the summer have been cancelled and rescheduling these will be a priority when restrictions are lifted.
  • Working from home. Most of our staff were already home-based but our office staff are now working from home too. The team is connected and in regular contact with each other.
  • Diverting our phones so you’re still able to call us on our main number 0203 875 9310.

To help us work as normally as possibly we’re asking you to:

Supporting us 

As we’re all getting used to living life differently, reading will play a huge part in how we cope. Whether that’s through escaping into a book, reading a letter or keeping up to date – reading is crucial. 

There are people in prison today who will be able to read letters from their loved ones because they’ve learned to read with Shannon Trust. But there are thousands more who won’t be able to replace visits from family or friends with a letter because they can’t read. That’s why your support continues to be vital through this crisis as well as in the future. Thank you for helping men and women in prison to unlock the power of reading.


We're dependent upon voluntary donations from organisations and people who believe in the importance of our work.


Our work is made possible by volunteers who work with prison staff to advise, support and grow the Shannon Trust in each prison.