Community reading coach

Supporting Shannon Trust in the community

In partnership with HMPPS Chelmsford, and other local services, we are developing a pilot programme intended to support those leaving prison and people out the community who may require support to improve their reading.


We are keen to offer a number of options in terms of how people can access our sessions in Chelmsford. Our volunteer Reading Coaches will be integral to this, delivering our sessions to learners both on a face to face basis, and through the use of technology e.g. Zoom.


By volunteering with us you will be helping to deliver positive outcomes for our learners and helping us to reach even more people. This will also be a great opportunity for you to develop your own knowledge and skills.

Objective(s) of role:

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. You will work as part of a small team of volunteers and will receive a full induction and training, as well as ongoing support/supervision.

A broad outline of tasks and activities to be undertaken: 

·       Acting as an ambassador for Shannon Trust. Sharing our vision and values.

·       Using your skills to build positive relationships with our learners, referring agencies and other key stakeholders.

·       Delivering reading sessions using our Turning Pages resource, and engaging with learners either on a face to face basis, or via the use of technology.

·       Ensuring that all relevant monitoring data is collated and submitted to Shannon Trust as per our specifications.

·       Attending regular area meetings and training sessions as and when required.

·       Adhering to Shannon Trust’s organisational policies and procedures at all times.

·       Adhering also to any relevant local policies and procedures e.g. safeguarding.

·       Supporting Shannon Trust learners to input into the ongoing design and development of our programmes.

·       Attending any local events to support the promotion of our work, in order to develop relationships and encourage referrals.

·       Engaging in regular catch ups with our Community Pilot Manager to receive support and discuss ongoing progress, highlighting any ongoing concerns and sharing good news.

·       Sharing good practice with other volunteers and receiving regular updates from wider the wider organisation.

·       Encouraging learner progression and celebrating success through progress certificates and positive feedback.


Who we are looking for:

We don't need you to have any formal qualifications to become a Shannon Trust volunteer. Successful applicants will however be subject to an enhanced DBS check before they take up their volunteering role

 As this programme is an 18 month pilot, it is also worth noting that our model may develop and evolve as things progress. Our volunteers will play a vital role in supporting this.


We're looking for people who:


·       Can offer non-judgmental approach to those accessing support through Shannon Trust to improve their reading.

·       Are able to give a regular, reliable commitment to volunteering and are able to offer some flexibility when/where needed.

·       Have strong communication skills and are able to use these to inspire/motivate others.

·       Are able to effectively plan, manage their own time and prioritise key tasks.

·       Are able to keep up to date with Shannon Trust news and communications and share relevant information.

·       Are able to use and regularly monitor Shannon Trust outlook emails, use Microsoft Teams and other computer packages as required.


Training, Induction and Support


Shannon Trust provides a wide range of training for volunteers. All are expected to attend all mandatory training, some of which will be delivered on a face to face basis, and some which will take place online. The training will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of the values and visions of the charity, as well as practical support needed to undertake your role safely and effectively.


You will receive a thorough induction, as well as ongoing support and direct supervision from Shannon Trust throughout your time volunteering. . In addition, you may also be asked to undertake mandatory training as part of any partnership working agreements established with partnership agencies.


You will meet regularly with our Community Pilot Manager and will receive a formal review every 6 months to look at overall progress and identify any future areas for development.


The name of the person who the volunteer reports to:


You will report directly to our Community Pilot Manager


Location and volunteering hours:


Our face to face sessions will be delivered in and around Chelmsford (premises tbc), or via local partner agencies.


We would not set a specific limit on the time you are able to give to the role, but we would usually ask our volunteers to give approximately 7 to 14 hours a month, spread over 2 to 4 days. As the pilot progresses, we will seek your feedback around whether this is the correct amount of time required for the role.


Given the different needs of our learners and the times they may be available to undertake Shannon Trust sessions, it is likely this won’t be a role in which activities are always able take place on a set day or time each week. A degree of flexibility would subsequently be extremely advantageous.


Benefits to you:


Becoming a Reading Coach with Shannon Trust will provide you with a number of benefits which can you help you to develop both your personal and professional skills:


·       Receiving ongoing training and supervision to support you in fulfilling your role.

·       Developing your IT skills and expanding your knowledge of using up to date IT packages.

·       Developing your knowledge of literacy and reading support approaches (e.g phonics).

·       Growing your understanding of the criminal justice system and the network of local support services.

·       Opportunities to build positive relationships with learners, Shannon Trust Staff/Volunteers and other key stakeholders.

·       Developing your knowledge of both local and organisational policies and procedures.

·       Supporting the delivery of improved outcomes for learners, families and the wider community, and supporting delivery of an independent evaluation.

·       Helping Shannon Trust to develop a new and effective way of working, which will help us to reach more people who need our support.


Expenses and insurance:


You'll be able to claim back all reasonable out of pocket expenses and be covered by our public liability insurance.

Current vacancies
  • Chelmsford

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Next training dates
Community reading coach training
dates to be confirmed
Role description

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