Each year, we help thousands of people in prison to learn to read. But we know that there are many more people who don’t take up the opportunity to improve their skills. With your funding, we will be able to ensure that more people will benefit from our reading programme, not just in prisons, but also through our community pilot.
Turning Pages in the community
People who start learning to read in prison don’t always have the support they need to continue when they leave; whilst there is some community provision, it remains a postcode lottery. Other prison leavers need another opportunity to make the choice to learn.
To support our mission and vision, we consider it imperative that we support people caught up in the criminal justice system who live in the community. This was a key strand of our 2019 to 2021 strategy, identified through consultations with stakeholders, and our 2022 to 2024 strategy will carry this forward to support as many disadvantaged people as possible who struggle to read.
This project gives us the opportunity to work with people at risk of offending, aiming to divert them away from prison. The need is immense: 57% of people with community behaviour orders (or in the region of 142,000) struggle with reading and literacy.
In March 2021, we began a pilot project to deliver Turning Pages in the community. Building on our learning to date, we are currently collaborating with a number of key partners to develop models and establish ‘what works’ in terms of providing one to one support around literacy to people outside of prisons. Those we are working with include probation services, drug and alcohol services, approved premises and a number of community based organisation that support prison leavers upon release and in various locations across the country.
There is significant potential for Shannon Trust to use digital approaches to improve its delivery and impact, particularly through the development of a Turning Pages app. Our current delivery model uses physical resources – principally books – combined with face to face support and training.
We now wish to develop online delivery of Turning Pages, either for self-led learning or supported by a mentor where this is available. There are 2 settings where use of a Turning Pages app will be explored:
- Community settings, such as drug and alcohol recovery services, as part of our community pilot
- Prison settings, including secure training centres and private prisons
An app would offer significant potential for scaling in the community by reducing reliance on staff, volunteers and mentors to drive uptake and deliver the intervention whilst still achieving impact. Our work in the community, due to the likelihood of higher levels of digital access, offers the most potential for testing an app at a reasonable scale and reaching significant numbers of learners.
Whilst current digital access in prisons is limited, there are significant plans in the pipeline and Shannon Trust intend to develop an app that can work for prison based devices. This should offer huge potential to drive reach and impact over time. Through our early digital discovery work, we have identified a high level target user journey.