News and views

The Big Picture - June 2021

24 May 2021

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

We are now seeing the green shoots of recovery across our operating environment, with more prisons moving to stage 3 and ‘lockdown’ measures lessening. This is good news as we look to re-engage with learners, mentors and prison staff. Keeping the recovery from COVID19 firmly in our minds, we’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to shape our new organisational strategy and I’m now able to share with you our ‘strategic intent’, or our direction of travel. We’ve looked at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the landscape we work across, and of course the needs of the people we support. As a result of that analysis, our board of trustees has now approved three key strands of a new strategy from January 2022. We want to;

  • Significantly increasing the number of those accessing and completing our reading programme in prisons
  • Roll out access to Turning Pages in the community, with an emphasis upon scalable delivery including e-learning and digital content
  • Test and where possible roll-out scalable new products. This is likely to encompass tools to help with basic skills including writing & speaking, numeracy and digital literacy.

We have much more work to do over 2021 to refine these key strands and agree our final strategic plan, but I hope people will agree that these strands make sense but are also ambitious in their aim. In order to make a new, ambitious strategy happen, we have also identified some important ways in which our organisation will need to develop;

  • Digitally, where we design, build, test and roll out digital Turning Pages and our e-learning capability
  • Refinement of our purpose, vision, mission & values to ensure all are aligned and we have clarity about the focus for our work
  • Further development of how our brand is perceived and how we communicate with all stakeholders
  • Workforce development to ensure our people – staff and volunteers – are best equipped to deliver excellence and real impact
  • Income diversification in order that we maximise the funds available to us to do our work

Currently, we are carrying out detailed work on our purpose, vision, mission and values and it has been excellent to see the contributions from the Shannon Trust team during May. We will do more to test and refine these important ideas, that will eventually shape how we communicate with the outside world about our work – and future plans. I look forward to working with Shannon Trust stakeholders on these developments during the coming months.