Shannon Trust is a national charity supporting thousands of prisoners a year to transform their lives by unlocking the power of reading. We inspire and train prisoners who can read to teach prisoners who can’t.
Prison volunteers nurture the growth of Shannon Trust reading programme 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, building positive relationships with prison staff and prisoners.
- Engaging prison managers, staff and prisoners to set-up and maintain the Shannon Trust reading programme across the whole prison.
- Supporting, guiding and encouraging the Shannon Trust facilitator and mentors to attract new learners and expand the reach of Shannon Trust.
- Training mentors and attending monthly mentor meetings.
- Arranging and supporting celebration events.
- Providing monthly updates to Shannon Trust.
- Meeting with Shannon Trust volunteers quarterly to share best practice and keep up-to-date with developments.
- Sharing good news stories.
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.
- Have strong communication skills.
- Are able to deliver engaging training to our mentors.
- Are able to work alone, manage own time and prioritise.
- Can use email, the internet and MS word (or a similar package).
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 and support
You'll attend 2 one-day workshops. The first induction will introduce you to Shannon Trust, how we work and to volunteering in prisons. The second, How to Train Mentors, will get you ready to train mentors. Your area coordinator will support your induction into your prison. This will include 3 accompanied visits and observing mentor training. Your area coordinator will also give you ongoing support and you'll meet with your area team 4 times a year.
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.