Cascade supports undergrad research

We were delighted to welcome Pam Batchelor, an undergraduate studying Criminology at The University of Surrey, to the Cascade Health & Learning Hub recently.

Pam, who hails all the way from sunny Colorado in the US but has spent the last 25 years here in the UK, is undertaking her thesis this term and the title is: ‘Dyslexia and Crime – a qualitative assessment of ex-offenders with dyslexia and those who work with them with the aim of reducing recidivism.’

Pam Batchelor visited us recently to carry out research for her Criminology degree

Explains Pam: “I’ve always been interested in Criminology, so after raising my kids for the last 15 years as a ‘stay-at-home-mum’, I decided to embark on a degree course in the subject.

“My son is dyslexic and, as part of my undergraduate studies, I’ve already written a few papers within the Youth & Crime module. As such, I started to ask myself if there might be a link between dyslexia and offending and felt compelled to find out more about the social reactions to dyslexia in this particular arena.”

Continues Pam: “I’ve read lots of Jackie’s work and how she has helped prisoners learn to read and write and ensure they don’t return to jail. It costs far less to teach someone reading and writing skills than it does to keep them in prison and I was incredibly impressed with what Jackie had achieved.

“So, I called Jackie and asked if I could visit her in Doncaster and interview some of her current learners, several of whom are ex-offenders, and find out more about their own personal experiences. I heard some inspirational stories and the time I’ve spent talking to everyone involved with the charity has been invaluable for my studies.”

Concludes Jackie: “It was a real pleasure to meet Pam and be in a position to help her with her research; we are always happy to help students and support the work they do to raise the profile of the impact dyslexia has on society. I can’t wait to read her thesis and sincerely hope we can continue to work together in the future!”

CSJ Awards 2018 – what a great event!

Our founder, Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE and Sue Blackburn, one of our long standing trustees and key supporters, have spent an evening in London at the prestigious Centre for Social Justice Awards 2018.

The countdown to the CSJ awards ceremony begins!

The countdown to the CSJ awards ceremony begins!

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) was established as an independent think-tank in 2004 to put social justice at the heart of British politics and make policy recommendations to tackle the root causes of poverty. The CSJ Awards is an annual high-profile event in the Westminster calendar which showcases and rewards grassroots charities and voluntary organisations from local communities throughout the UK that have developed effective and innovative ways of addressing a variety of entrenched social issues.

Sue Blackburn, Cascade Foundation trustee and supporter, attending the CSJ Awards 2018

In her own inimitable style, Jackie managed to speak with several highly influential individuals during the evening, including the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, chairman of the CSJ. She told them all about the fantastic achievements of our learners at the Cascade Health & Learning Hub here in Doncaster and declared the event a huge success.


A celebration lunch

We had to celebrate Jackie’s OBE in style at The Cascade Health & Learning Hub in Doncaster and what better way than with a full Sunday dinner on a Friday lunchtime?!

Hungry diners tucking into their celebratory meal!

Huge thanks to volunteer and top chef Carol and her team of Cascade helpers. The food was delicious and there were clean plates all round!

Top chef and volunteer, Carol, with Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE

Collecting the OBE!

Tuesday 6th March 2018 was a very special day for our founder and CEO, Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE. Not only was it her birthday but it was also the day she headed to Buckingham Palace with her sons, Richard and Stuart, and her friend and Cascade Foundation trustee, Sue Blackburn, to collect her OBE.

So, who better to tell the story of this historical day than Jackie herself!

Jackie Hewitt-Main, OBE, founder and CEO of The Cascade Foundation

“On Tuesday I went to Buckingham Place to receive my OBE for my work with prisoners with learning disabilities in prison and the community.

Jackie with Sue Blackburn outside Buckingham Palace

“Talking to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge about our project was fantastic. I completely forgot to call him His Right Honourable Sir and I was scared that I would curtsy too low and not be able to get back up again, hilarious!

Jackie with her sons, Stuart and Richard, outside Buckingham Palace

“Prince William thanked me for all my work within UK prisons and was impressed that we had just won the Duke of York Award. He also gave me advice to contact another person to help with my projects. WOW!! And yes he knows and has read all about The Cascade Foundation.

“We then went on to the House of Commons but we were an hour late after having so many photos taken at Buckingham Palace.

The OBE!

“When we arrived, we were met by Lord Dominic Addington. I started working with him in 2007 when he visited the HMP Chelmsford project and he has spoken in the House of Lords about so many of my projects. He is a very keen supporter of everything we do at The Cascade Foundation.

“We also met with Rebecca Harris MP who started working with me in 2012 with Andrew Sheldon. Between them, they have held several debates in the House of Commons that have helped me acquire funding from Serco and Manchester College and enabled me to take the project to HMP Doncaster with John Biggin OBE.

Jackie with Rosie Winterton MP and Rebecca Harris MP

“We were delighted to have Rosie Winterton MP for Doncaster also join us and she is now helping us and thanked me for my work within Doncaster.

“What a fantastic day!!!”