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.

In prisons

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 volunteer

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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 administrator

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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 coordinator

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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.

Recruitment and training

Thank you for your interest in joining our in prison volunteer team.

The closing date for applications to attend our next round of training is 23 August 2024.

We will respond to all applications. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview between 26 August to 9 September. This is an opportunity for you to meet our regional team, for us to find out more about you and to share more information about the volunteering role.

You will be given high quality training to prepare you for volunteering with Shannon Trust. This takes place over 4 training sessions and via our online training portal, and includes an induction to the prison where you will be volunteering .

We ask that volunteers aim to complete the training in one course as this means that you will be ready to start actively volunteering.

The next training sessions for volunteering for people applying to be a prison based volunteer will take place:

2 October, 10am to 1pm (via Zoom)
9 October 10am to 1pm (via Zoom)
16 October 10am to 1pm (via Zoom)
6 November, 10am to 4pm (in person session, London)

Please check you can attend the dates prior to applying.



If you are interested in any of the roles above, or would like to find out more, please fill in the form below.

Please confirm you are eligible for this role by ticking the boxes below

Please confirm you are eligible for this role by ticking the boxes below

Please confirm you are eligible for this role by ticking the boxes below

Please confirm you are eligible for this role by ticking the boxes below

Please confirm you are eligible for this role by ticking the boxes below

Criminal Record Declaration

We welcome applications to volunteer from people with lived experience of the criminal justice system and do not routinely ask for details of any criminal convictions. Some of our volunteer roles do require prison security clearance and/ or DBS checks, so we may need to ask for details of any relevant criminal convictions before starting to volunteer in these positions.

Referee's info
Please provide us with the details of your referee and their relationship to you. This is a character reference, so a friend or neighbour is ideal. We ask that you are not related to the referee and that they aren’t your partner. They must have known you for a minimum of 2 years. They will be asked to comment on your skills and attributes in relation to the volunteer role description.

Closing date for next application round: TBC
Essential volunteer induction training: TBC

 Thank you for getting in touch
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 Thank you for getting in touch

Equal Opportunities

Shannon Trust is an equal opportunities employer.  To help us make sure that it works effectively, we would appreciate your completion of this form. The information will be used solely for monitoring purposes and will be treated in strictest confidence. It will be separated from your application form on receipt.

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In the community

Shannon Trust is working with community partners 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.

Reading coach

Barking and Dagenham

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.

Digital reading coach

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.

Community project support

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West Kent
Central Kent
East Kent
East Sussex
West Sussex

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.  

Business support volunteering

If you have skills that could benefit Shannon Trust's business support team, such as communications, fundraising, HR, IT and resources, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch to discuss opportunities.

Get in touch


I have skills that I think will be useful to Shannon Trust, but don’t think the current opportunities are right for me. Can I help in another way?
I have convictions, can I volunteer with you?
What commitment do you need from me?
When and how often will I need to visit a prison?
What support will be available to me?
Do you provide transport to prisons and meetings?
Will volunteering cost me anything?
Will I need access to the internet if I volunteer with you?
I'm interested in the prison volunteer role, can you tell me more about the administration and preparation involved?
Will volunteering affect my state benefits?
I have access requirements, am I able to volunteer with you?
Do you have opportunities for people that don’t have loads of time to spare, but still want to help the cause?

If you have any further questions, get in touch at volunteering@shannontrust.org.uk