Prison volunteer

Supporting Shannon Trust in a prison

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. As it can take a few months to complete our training and the prison security vetting, we're looking for people who can stay with us for a while, ideally a couple of years. It's ideal for prison volunteers to be within 50 miles (or an hour's commute) to their prison. 

What you'll be doing

  • Acting as an ambassador for the charity in all that you do.  Sharing the vision and values of the charity throughout your volunteering.
  • Using your skills to build positive relationships with frontline prison staff, prisoners and other organisations.
  • Engaging prison staff and people in prison to set-up, maintain and develop the Shannon Trust reading programme across the whole prison. Working with them to develop a plan of how to progress and achieve this.
  • Supporting, guiding and encouraging the Shannon Trust facilitator and mentors to attract new learners and expand the reach of the Shannon Trust reading programme.
  • Providing ongoing training to mentors and coaching them to find their own solutions to concerns.
  • Chairing/co-chairing mentor meetings to provide updates from Shannon Trust, to develop the mentors skills and to encourage them to share good practice with each other.
  • Ensuring data is collected by mentors and prison staff and that this is submitted to Shannon Trust each month 
  • Raising awareness of Shannon Trust across the prison, through staff briefings and building relationships with other agencies.
  • Working with prison staff to arrange and support celebration events
  • Providing monthly updates to your area coordinator and regional manager.
  • Highlighting any ongoing concerns and sharing good news.
  • Attending your area’s quarterly meetings. Using these meetings to share good practice with other volunteers and to receive updates from wider the wider organisation. 
  • Engaging with quarterly catch ups with area coordinator to receive support and discuss progress. 


Who we're looking for

You don't need any formal qualifications to become a Shannon Trust volunteer. We're looking for people who:

  • Have a commitment to providing non-judgemental support to people in prison
  • Are able to give a regular, reliable commitment and have flexibility to visit the prison at times required.
  • Have strong communication skills and are able to use these to inspire others.
  • Are able to deliver engaging training and identify training and support needs for mentors.
  • Are able to work alone, manage own time and prioritise.
  • Are able to keep up to date with Shannon Trust news and communications and share relevant information with the wider prison team.
  • Are able to use and regularly monitor Shannon Trust outlook emails, use Microsoft Teams and other computer packages as required. 


Time commitment

You'll visit your prison at least once a month and attend a quarterly volunteer meeting. Typically you'll give 7 to 14 hours a month, spread over 2 to 4 days, to volunteering with us. To fit in with staff availability this isn't a role where your activities can take place on a set day or time each week and prison visits can't take place at weekends; you'll need to be flexible and be able to visit your prison during the daytime Monday to Friday.

Training, induction & support

Shannon Trust provides a wide range of training for volunteers.  You will be expected to attend all mandatory training for new volunteers, some will be group training and some will be online. The training will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of the values and visions of the charity and practical support for your prison role.  You will receive a thorough induction into your prison and will be supported on at least three occasions before having quarterly one to ones with your area coordinator to support you on an ongoing basis. 

Benefits to you

You'll be helping unlock the power of reading for people in prison, have the chance to gain new skills and experiences or use existing ones, and be part of a great volunteer team.

Expenses and Insurance

You'll be able to claim back all reasonable expenses. You'll be covered by our public liability insurance. If you use your own vehicle for Shannon Trust related activity, you'll need to check that you have the correct insurance cover. 

Current vacancies
  • HMP Bronzefield (TW15 3JZ)
  • HMP Cardiff (CF24 0UG)
  • HMP Cookham Wood ( ME1 3LU) & HMP Rochester ( ME13QS)
  • HMP Dovegate (ST14 8XR)
  • HMP Highpoint( CB8 9YN)
  • HMP Hindley (WN2 5TH)
  • HMP Hull (HU9 5LS)
  • HMP Liverpool ( L9 3DF)
  • HMP Magilligan ( BT49 0LP)
  • HMP North Sea Camp ( PE22 0QX)
  • HMP Northumberland (NE65 9XG)
  • HMP Peterborough (PA3 7PD)
  • HMP Ranby ( DN22 8EU)
  • HMP Standford Hill ( ME12 4AA)
  • HMP Stoke Heath (TF9 2JL)
  • HMP The Verne ( DT5 1EQ)
  • HMP Woodhill ( MK4 4DA)
  • HMP Stocken (LE15 7RD)
  • HMP Whitemoor (PE15 0PR)
  • HMP Humber ( HU15 1RB)
  • HMP Drake Hall (ST21 6LQ)
  • HMP Ashfield (BS16 9QJ) & HMP Leyhill (GL12 8BT)
  • HMP Bure (NR10 5GB)
  • HMP Foston (DE65 5DN) & HMP Sudbury (DE6 5HW)
  • HMP Isle of Wight (PO30 5NX)
  • HMP Haverigg (LA18 4NA )
  • HMP Low Newton (DH1 3YA)

Download and complete this application stating which of the above positions you wish to apply for and return to

Next training dates
Induction1 - Vision & Values
South - 17th June 2021. North - 22nd June 2021
Induction 2 – Volunteering in prisons (on-line)
South – 24th June 2021. North – 29th June 2021
Turning Pages training (on-line)
South – 8th July 2021. North – 20th July 2021
Train the Trainer
South – 15th July 2021.North – 29th July 2021.
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