BookReliefUK (our charity) is a 'literacy charity' which supports & partners with other charities within the broad sphere of 'helping to improve people's literacy and love of books'. Barry Evetts, our late founder, had involved us with Read Easy UK which had itself started out of work in prisons helping those who couldn't read. Our charity helped 3 locally based Read Easy groups to start here in North Devon. Barry's idea was to follow this up by continuing to work in Prison Literacy.
For most of us reading is a skill we take for granted. For thousands of people in prison, however, reading a letter from home, a job application or a newspaper is simply beyond them. Prisoners who can't read often feel embarrassed, vulnerable and isolated when faced with being unable to read letters from home, know what they are choosing from the meal menu or make an application for health care. There is, at present, no statutory funding to help.
The one-to-one peer mentored approach of Shannon Trust Reading Plan appeals to prisoners who are reluctant to engage in classroom learning. It allows them to progress at their own pace and they gain confidence in themselves when they realise that they too can successfully learn to read. There are benefits too for the Mentors in terms of raising their self-confidence and self-worth.
I'm helping others and I've learnt a lot that I can use to build a better life for me and my family when I'm released from jail. LEARNER WHO BECAME A MENTOR HMP PENTONVILLE