Moto in the Community Trust gives us a boost!

Moto in the Community Trust, the charitable arm of Moto Hospitality, the UK’s leading motorway service area provider, has made a donation of £1,000 to The Cascade Foundation.

The donation will enable our Cascade Foundation mentors to teach and support even more learners who have dyslexia, head injury or other learning difficulties and support them into employment or volunteering.

Commenting on the donation, Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, chief executive and founder of The Cascade Foundation said: “I can’t thank the Moto in the Community Trust team enough for this invaluable donation to Cascade. It will help us transform the lives of a wide variety of individuals who come to us for our unique and highly effective method of sensory learning.

Moto in the Community support The Cascade Foundation

Moto in the Community support The Cascade Foundation

“Many people we work with have been out of work for several years, including Edwin who came to collect the cheque with us. He hasn’t had a job for five years after struggling with his reading & writing. Within a matter of weeks of being mentored by the Cascade team he has found a job and is a totally different person – he’s got his confidence back and is very happy to be once more making a contribution to society.”

A spokesman for Moto in the Community Trust said: “Our charity was established to help make a difference to the lives of people who live in the areas around our network of motorway service areas. Each of our sites has chosen a local charity to support so we were delighted to help The Cascade Foundation, which is the chosen charity of staff at our Doncaster site.”

The People’s Projects 2019

The Cascade Community Café is open for business!

Our very first community café is now open and providing employment and work experience opportunities for local people with learning disabilities and head injuries.

The Cascade Community Café is based at our Health & Learning Hub on Marshgate in Doncaster and is run by experienced chef, Paul Sanderson, and Cascade learners.

Following a unprovoked attack whilst walking through Doncaster with his two children two years ago, Paul sustained life-changing head injuries and has not been able to work since. Before the brutal assault, Paul had forged a highly successful career in the catering and hospitality industry.

“Ever since we launched the Cascade Health & Learning Hub last summer, we’ve wanted to add a catering element,” explains Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder and chief executive of The Cascade Foundation.

Continues Jackie: “When I met Paul a few months ago and we got chatting, I realised he was the perfect person to lead the Cascade Community Café. Not only does Paul have a personal understanding of what life is like with a head injury, he also has a huge amount of talent and ambition which is just what we need to drive this project forward.”

The Cascade Community Café is open for business

The Cascade Community Café is open for business!

The Cascade Community Café is open for breakfast and lunch from 8.30pm to 1.30pm Monday to Friday. Customers can choose from a tasty menu that includes a full English breakfast with two sausages, two slices of bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns, beans and toast plus a drink all for just £2.90, jacket potatoes, fresh salads and sandwiches, plus main meals such as meatballs with spaghetti (£2.85) or traditional fish & chips and chicken curry both priced at £3.90. Every dish is created using locally sourced produce.

Adds Jackie: “Paul and the team have worked so hard to get the café up and running and more and more people are coming in every day. We’ve had some excellent feedback from people and lots of suggestions about what they’d like to see on the menu as well as the idea of selling fresh coffee which is something we’re looking into.”

All of the proceeds from food sold in the café is put straight back into the charity to fund other learning projects and help grow other commercial ventures designed to create much needed funds.

Concludes Jackie: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I’d encourage anyone living or working in the area to pop in and sample some of the delicious food that Paul is cooking. And, by doing so, you’ll be contributing directly to the continuation of the work we’re all doing here at The Cascade Foundation to transform people’s lives.”


Michael cascades with success

Michael Thompson will never forget the day he met Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder of The Cascade Foundation, during the very first week of his 14-month custodial sentence at HMP Doncaster.

The History graduate from Greater Manchester stood out from many of his fellow prisoners with his University education and calm, friendly demeanour. Within five minutes of chatting to Michael about her innovative prison project to teach inmates to read and write, she’d realised his potential and recruited him to start mentoring prisoners under her guidance.

“Working with Jackie to teach individuals to read and write gave me a unique insight into why people end up in prison,” explains Michael. “I started to understand that a person’s background could dramatically affect their chances and realised very quickly that if someone doesn’t have any tangible level of literacy or numeracy, the more likely they are to offend.”

Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder of The Cascade Foundation with Michael Thompson from Rite Trax

Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder of The Cascade Foundation with Michael Thompson from Rite Trax

By taking on a role of teaching alongside Jackie, Michael was able to apply his own skills to help many others as well as himself. He embarked on a number of training and learning courses, gaining qualifications in Customer Service, Counselling and Business Studies. He also completed a Level 3 ‘Award in Education’ to further improve his teaching proficiency.

“I’ve been a musician since I was about 13 years-old,” adds Michael. “Music is my passion and before I went to prison, I regularly used to attend gig nights in Sheffield where I was studying. Spending time assisting Jackie and teaching others, I decided I’d like to turn my passion into a business and, ultimately, work with young people and offenders to enable them to create and showcase music.”

After his release, Michael did an enterprise course with The Prince’s Trust. He worked hard at his entrepreneurial objective and, with support from his friends in Manchester and Sheffield, he established a social enterprise – Rite Trax – with three of his peers.

“Rite Trax is a platform for music, art, design and poetry with a focus on an underground creative culture,” says Michael. “We’ve got our own premises at Castle Market in Sheffield and we’re working with artists, musicians, painters and writers from all over the UK. We have an event space that holds up to 100 people where we stage music events, shows and exhibitions, and we recently delivered a street party for over 500 people for Sheffield City Council as part of the regeneration of the Castlegate area of the city.”

As well as managing Rite Trax, Michael is a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and he also volunteers for several local drug and alcohol awareness charities.

“Just like Jackie, I want to keep people out of prison and give young people something meaningful and creative to do with their time,” concludes Michael. “We all have problems in our lives and Rite Trax gives people the space to be themselves for a few hours and, hopefully, provides them with the inspiration and motivation they need to achieve their own goals.”

HRH Duke of York Community Initiative Award!

We’ve won an HRH Duke of York Community Initiative Award!

12 months ago we won funding from Efficiency North for delivering a high level of social value within the Doncaster community. This ensured a place for The Cascade Foundation on the Duke’s awards shortlist.

Jackie receiving the award from HRH The Duke of York

Jackie receiving the award from HRH The Duke of York

Explains Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder and CEO of The Cascade Foundation: “As a result of the shortlisting, two judges from the HRH Duke of York’s Community Initiative visited the Cascade Health & Learning Hub here in Marshgate at Christmas to carry out an assessment.

“They met several of our learners, stakeholders and trustees and experienced, first hand, how our learners are learning to read, write and gain an understanding of their disabilities such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. All of their hard work is leading them to gain qualifications find jobs or become directly involved in one of our Cascade charity businesses, something that the judges were particularly interested in.”

Jackie, Julieann and Ian chat with HRH The Duke of York

Jackie, Julieann and Ian chat with HRH The Duke of York

Jackie and two of her learners, Ian and Julieann, attended the HRH Duke of York’s Community Initiative Awards presentation at Sheffield Cathedral and got the chance to chat with the Duke about the valuable work they are doing in Doncaster.

Smiles all round at The Duke of York Community Initiative Awards

Smiles all round at The Duke of York Community Initiative Awards

Concludes Jackie: “It was a fantastic afternoon – I am so proud of all of our learners and what they have achieved over the last few months, this award is for them!”

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!!!”

Inspirational event with ‘The Dyslexic Entrepreneur’

More than 50 people attended an event hosted by Doncaster-based charity, The Cascade Foundation, designed to inspire, motivate and encourage local people with dyslexia, learning difficulties or head injuries to start their own businesses.

Led by Ken Lewis OBE, aka ‘The Dyslexic Entrepreneur’, Ken shared his story of how he overcame dyslexia to become an engineer and award-winning CEO, author and motivational business speaker.

He was joined by dyslexic learners of all ages and backgrounds who have recently embarked on courses run by Jackie Hewitt-Main, founder of The Cascade Foundation to help them to read and write.

The Cascade Foundation

The Cascade Foundation event with ‘The Dyslexic Entrepreneur’ Ken Lewis OBE

Each learner told their own story of how dyslexia has affected their lives with each and every individual’s story having one commonality: an immense struggle to gain employment.

Highlights Jackie: “One female learner in her 20s who came to us from the Job Centre at the beginning of January for work experience had been in prison and never had a job because of her dyslexia. She’s now working alongside me to train and teach her peers because she has excellent people skills and a real natural ability to explain things to other people.

“Another long-term unemployed lady in her 60s, who also suffers from dyslexia and a physical disability which means she can’t walk very well, travels miles to the Cascade Health & Learning Hub on her mobility scooter every day. She’s going to head up our Cascade Homecare Service because she has vast experience of caring for people in her own family as well as friends and neighbours.

Concludes Jackie: “So, we’ve got the budding entrepreneurs who are keen to learn and develop, we now need to support them to turn their business ideas into reality and to do that, we need of the wider community. Please get in touch and help us to transform even more lives by creating local jobs and generating inward investment here in Doncaster.”

For more information visit or call Jackie on 01302 591050.