Our volunteers come from all walks of life.
Many have personal experience of struggling to learn to read, or they’ve worked in a profession where they understand how critical this skill is. Others simply want to share their joy of reading.
Whatever your reason, you can help improve people’s life chances by volunteering with us.
We wouldn’t be able to carry out Shannon Trust activity in prisons without our amazing volunteers.
You can help train mentors, keep our regional managers up to date with activities, offer administrative support to the team, plus much more.
If you have the time to volunteer, read more about the opportunities on offer:
Prison volunteers nurture the growth of the Shannon Trust in their prison. They help unlock the power of reading by offering advice, guidance and support to prison staff and mentors.
Area administrators are an invaluable part of our team. They provide administrative support to our area coordinators and teams, organising and minuting area meetings. They're also an important link in how we evidence the impact of Shannon Trust, prompting and following up data and monthly reports from our prison volunteers.
Area coordinators support and coordinate a team of prison volunteers. They help recruit and induct new volunteers and are the first point of contact for advice and support for them.
Shannon Trust is working with to enhance our support to learners as they leave prison. This will enable them to continue learning on release and also to reach others in the community in touch with probation services or at risk of offending.
By becoming a reading coach, you will enable people to learn basic reading skills in a flexible way, so that day to day tasks like filling in forms or reading a bus timetable become easier.
As a Shannon Trust reading coach you will work directly with people with low literacy, helping them to improve their reading through the delivery of Turning Pages sessions both on a face to face basis and through the use of technology.
Turning Pages is now being turned into a digital app. We are looking for volunteers in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex regions to become coaches and support our learners throughout their learning journey.
If you are able to cover one of these areas, please also include any other areas you can volunteer from in your application.
As community project support, you will support and coordinate a team of community reading coaches to work directly with people with low literacy. You will support with recruitment and training of volunteers, as well as coordination of the delivery of our digital tool, Turning Pages Digital, to support people on probation in Kent, Surrey and Sussex to improve their literacy skills.
If you’re interested in volunteering for Shannon Trust through your place of work, get in touch and we can discuss opportunities.Get in touch
We’d love to hear from you. We’ve recently appointed volunteers to help us with communications, fundraising and social media, and we welcome more people with these skills to support our team. For an informal discussion, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
We welcome applications from all people, including people who have previous convictions and lived experience of prison. Your convictions don't automatically exclude you from volunteering with us but the nature of them and when they took place may mean that some roles are more suitable than others.
We ask you to disclose any unspent convictions on your application. These will be treated confidentially and will be discussed during your initial contact with our regional manager.
Appointment to prison volunteer and area coordinator roles is dependent on applicants successfully completing the prison service security vetting which includes full disclosure of all previous convictions.
We ask volunteers to be confident, as far as possible, that they are able to volunteer for a 2 year term with us. This is because training and security clearance can take some time, and because success and progress of the Shannon Trust can be damaged if our volunteers leave within a short space of joining us.
Prison volunteers visit their prison monthly. These visits take place during Monday to Friday and normally between 8am and 4pm. You'll need the flexibility for visits to be determined by prison staff availability.
Our volunteers are organised into area teams. Each team is led by a senior volunteer – the area coordinator. The area coordinator will support you through your induction period and be available to guide and advise you on developing Shannon Trust in your prison. You will also receive support from other volunteers in your team.
Our volunteers meet in their area teams once every 3 months. Meetings are used to share successes and challenges, and to develop best practice.
We encourage car sharing for travel to Shannon Trust events. You'll need to make your own travel arrangements when visiting prison(s) - using public transport or using your own vehicle.
Reasonable, out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed. This includes a mileage allowance if you use your own car or motorbike, public transport or taxi fares, food and refreshments. We’ll also cover any administrative costs such as printing or telephone calls.
Yes, you'll need to access the Shannon Trust website where we hold all the documents you need while you're volunteering. The link will be shared with you once you've completed your training. We provide most volunteer roles with a dedicated Shannon Trust email address, you will need to be able to receive and respond to these emails in a timely fashion.
During the COVID pandemic, all of our meetings have been switched to Zoom or Teams meetings online.
You'll need to allow some time for preparation in advance of mentor training and mentor meetings. You'll be expected to complete a brief monthly activity report outlining successes, challenges and areas for priority.
There will also be email communication to follow up meeting actions and make arrangements for meetings.
You can volunteer and claim benefits if:
More information is available on the Government website.
Shannon Trust training events and area meetings are held in venues that are accessible for people with mobility needs. We also make sure a hearing loop is available in all meeting rooms.
If you have access requirements, please make a note of these on your application form so that we can make sure these can be met when agreeing on placement. This is especially important for prison volunteer and area coordinator roles where most of the activities take place in non public areas inside prisons.
If you aren’t able to commit to volunteering regularly for us, we’d still love to hear from you as we might have other opportunities for you. Contact email@example.com for more information.
If you have any further questions, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in joining our volunteer team.
Our latest volunteer recruitment round is currently closed and we are reviewing where we are seeking volunteers across the organisation.
Please come back to this page in March 2024, where we will share which roles you can apply for.
You can also sign up to get alerts when a new role you're interested in becomes available.
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If you are interested in any of the roles above, or would like to find out more, please fill in the form below.