Despite the valiant efforts of many, it remains the case that large numbers of people enter custody unable to read well, or read at all. And far too many are released still struggling with this fundamental skill. At Shannon Trust we don’t think this is acceptable, and through our new strategy for 2022-2024, we aim to do something about this.
Why is the inability to read so important?
We see reading as foundational – to an individuals’ wellbeing and self-confidence, to their ability to navigate everyday life, and for their overall life chances. This is true for all of us of course, but none more so for people in prison, or on probation. So, we work with thousands of people each year, teaching them to read and to build confidence, that further learning is something for them too.
However, we now want to do much more and reach many more people – our new 3-year strategy has this as its number one aim.
We recognise too, that most people in prison will eventually be released, and many in the short-to medium term. That means that education is often interrupted or even doesn’t start. So, we are determined to extend what we do into community settings and do this by partnering with other agencies, so that they can engage with potential learners who come through their doors.
We have also seen clear evidence that low literacy is often accompanied by low numeracy and our learning model – peer-led or self-study that is informal, go-at-your-own-pace and confidence building –can be adapted to include basic maths. So, our new strategy will see us expand our offer in this way, across the prison estate.
And we live in an ever-more digital world, so our learning materials need to adapt. So, in spring 2022 we will release our Turning Pages app – allowing users to learn to read, on any device.
I hope you enjoy reading about our new strategy and will work with us to make it a reality.
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