Shannon Trust – A National Reading Network

Project objective

To embed peer-mentored reading support within the prison core day in all public prisons, so that every non-reading prisoner, including those with English as a Second Language, has the best possible opportunity to learn to read and to engage in the rehabilitation journey.

Project partner

Shannon Trust operates a reading programme within prisons, and aims to transform lives by inspiring and training prisoners who can read to teach prisoners who cannot. Through the programme, prisoners can develop life-skills that they need to be able to fully participate in society.

Shannon Trust works closely with prisons and prisoners to make the Shannon Trust Reading Plan available to those prisoners who could benefit from improving their reading, or from being a mentor to others. The Reading Plan operates in prisons across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They have recently completed the development of their new reading manual, “Turning Pages”, and introduced this into prisons in summer 2015.

About the project

A National Reading Network for prisoners is being developed. The aim of the NRN is to ensure that the Shannon Trust Reading Plan is available in every prison and integrated within the core prison day, so that it is available to all non-reading prisoners, whichever prison they are in or transferred to. The project will allow for far greater numbers of non-reading prisoners to be engaged and supported and improve continuity of learning for prisoners should they be transferred to a different prison.

Within this project, prisoners with English as a Second Language will be supported to learn to read on a one-to-one basis, and to develop their understanding of the English language, via the peer-supported reading plan.

The project is delivered in a strategic partnership with the Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service, which has adopted a standard delivery model, including the provision of officer time to co-ordinate the Shannon Trust Reading Plan in each prison. Shannon Trust staff and volunteers will work with each public prison to provide mentor training, advice and support. Shannon Trust is not receiving any direct financial support from HMPPS.

Shannon Trust and The Bell Foundation will be working in partnership to evaluate and enhance support for non-reading and ESOL learners.