Over 50% of people in prison have a literacy level below that of an 11 year old. Many cannot read at all.
Learning to read transforms lives. It means people in prison can access more opportunities, improve their confidence and rely less on others for help. Because our programme is peer to peer, both mentors and learners develop key skills that can help them find future employment.
Our unique, evidence based Turning Pages reading manuals are used by thousands of learners in prisons and the community. The reading books used as part of the programme are suitable for adults, using real life stories, with some mentors having written our books.
I am now more involved with my children, making me a better parent. My relationships with friends and family are now more intimate. I can express myself honestly as I don’t have to rely on others.
I used to dread working but now I enjoy it. Before, I struggled to hold down a full-time paid job for many years. When I leave here, I won’t need to go onto benefits, I feel I’ll hold down a job.
I’m proud of myself. I’ve achieved things I never thought I would because I doubted my ability, but I’ve found out I’m smarter than I thought.
It has made a big impact on my life because being able to read has made things more possible for me. I can now apply for jobs, college and my driving test.
If my grandmother was still alive she would be so proud that I’ve done this. I know she would say ‘I told you, you’re never too old to learn’ and learning to read at 33 years of age proves just that.
If you know someone in prison that can’t read, you can give them the chance to learn – it’s easy to make a referral and it’s great to see how fast people can progress.
If you know someone in prison, they can find our mentors by looking for people in blue Shannon Trust t-shirts. They can speak to the mentor and refer themselves for learning to read.
Learners can also speak to a member of prison staff and ask about Shannon Trust or Turning Pages.
If you are a member of prison staff and you’d like to refer someone, please speak to your Shannon Trust lead. If you’re not sure who your Shannon Trust lead is, please get in touch.