News and views

The Big Picture - July 2021

23 June 2021

Every month, our CEO Ian Merrill shares updates on Shannon Trust's work and future developments.

Last month I spoke about the detailed work on our vision, mission and values that was needed. Many thanks to all our volunteers for their recent input to the task of crafting new statements. To re-cap, we wanted to re-visit the statements that we make about ourselves, so that we may communicate and market what we do more effectively. I am delighted to tell you that a set of new statements have been agreed. They are;


We support people in the criminal justice system to learn to read, so they can pursue wider opportunities and thrive in the community


A future where everyone can experience the positive impact of learning


To connect the power of volunteers, mentors and partners to offer a range of effective, accessible and flexible learning opportunities in prisons and the community


At Shannon Trust, we value:

The individual - we are supportive and non-judgmental – with our learners, mentors, volunteers and each other. By focusing on learners’ unique and individual needs, we can grow skills and confidence so they can reach their full potential.

Collaboration - we can’t achieve our vision alone, so we are resourceful and collaborative. By working with mentors, volunteers and partner organisations, we can ensure our programmes are widely accessible across the criminal justice system and communities.

Inventiveness - we know reading can be the first step to transforming lives, yet we also recognise wider needs. Ambitious, energetic and creative, we take a learner-led approach to innovation to increase the breadth and impact of our work.


We believe that

● Nobody should be left out of learning

● Self-belief is essential to personal growth

● Learning can increase confidence, transform lives and reduce reoffending

We now have an exciting set of statements to shape all our future communications and marketing and will start using these statements immediately, using them in induction training for new volunteers, advertising of vacancies and in our external communications. A more formal launch will come later in the year. This now also gives us a solid platform to work up a new organisational strategy for 2022-2025. We have some broad brush strokes in mind for that new strategy – increasing our reach and impact in prisons, developing our offer in the community and looking for ways to innovate and test new ideas – and we can now explore these and move towards having a clear strategy ready by the end of 2021. I’m aiming to attend various volunteer meetings over the coming months to develop these ideas further; our new strategy is far from fully-formed, and I welcome our volunteers' input to it.