Meet the Cascade team

*Please note: all those with asterisks after their names are themselves dyslexic.

Founder, CEO, Projects Manager

Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE*

Severely dyslexic and only diagnosed at the age of 40, Jackie taught herself to read and write, got a degree, gained a teaching qualification and started her first prison project at HMP/YOI Chelmsford in 2005.

She has been running projects in prisons and the community, mentoring ex-offenders and others of all ages with learning difficulties ever since, including two and a half years in HMP/YOI Doncaster, and opened The Cascade Foundation Health & Learning Hub on Marshgate in June 2017. Five months later she was awarded and OBE in the New Years Honours list of 2017.

Jackie has previously worked as a national curriculum design & monitoring officer for the Learning & Skills Council and held senior roles with a variety of training providers. She has established and managed two businesses – a flourishing health-food shop, extending to a second shop and a warehouse – and a recruitment company for young people with learning difficulties.

She is a highly inspirational, motivational and innovative educator and is consequently in demand as a key speaker. Jackie has spoken at a number of international conferences for prison educators in Holland, Sweden, Ireland and was also invited to visit and advise on prisons in the USA and Australia.

Her Chelmsford prison project was the subject of a Teacher’s TV program, she featured on ‘Surprise, Surprise’ in 2015 and is a regular guest and contributor to national and regional TV and radio programs.

Voted 2015 ‘Wonder Mum’ of the year by The Sun newspaper “for mothering hundreds of prisoners”, Jackie was also awarded the Redemption and Justice Innovation Award in 2014 and shortlisted for the prestigious Butler Trust Awards in 2014.  She has also won a number of other awards for her work in prisons.

After 13 years as a sole-trader, Jackie launched The Cascade Foundation in June 2013 in Westminster Hall, at the House of Commons, attended by three peers and 15 MPs, including the Right Hon Chris Grayling MP, then the Minister for Justice, who gave a very encouraging key speech.

TRUSTEES

Chair and Legal Adviser

Richard Main*

As well as being chair and legal adviser to the charity. Richard also works in a voluntary role in various capacities with The Cascade Foundation, contributing to PR, marketing and social, disciplinary procedure, contracts and other legal matters as well as representation at external meetings.

Vice-Chair

Ken Lewis OBE*

Award-winning international CEO, Ken is a hugely entertaining and inspirational speaker which is probably why he is on the approved House of Commons list of motivational business speakers! A member of several boards, including the East of England NHS board. Ken voluntarily supports us with his extensive business management expertise.

Secretary

Sue Blackburn

Sue is a retired IT lecturer and tutor with extensive educational and leadership experience and gives us very valued voluntary support in IT and administration, especially in curriculum planning and support.  She was a lead learning consultant and co-ordinated a number of courses such as AAT, Book-keeping and Sage Accounts and was also a course team leader for GMVQ ICT programs for 16-19 year old students.

Victoria Blakeman

A former adviser to NATO and the UN on Counter Terrorism and Offender Management, Chief of Prisons in Afghanistan and the Middle East, a former prison governor in the UK and currently an executive with Prospects – a company providing education, health and offender-management/education services – Victoria voluntarily shares her considerable expertise and experience with us across all areas of our work.

PATRONS

Lord Addington* – House of Lords

Lord Addington has been an enormous help and support to us over the years, promoting both our founder and the charity itself several times in House of Lords debates. Lord Addington has also spoken for us at a number of functions in the London area and keeps in regular touch with our founder/CEO.

Rebecca Harris* – MP for Castle Point and member of the Business Skills & Innovation Select Committee 

Rebecca has been a very keen and active supporter of our founder/CEO and The Cascade Foundation, visiting our projects and speaking on our behalf in different settings. She has also praised our work in House of Commons debates, most recently at the end of January 2016.  She takes every opportunity to help us, for example, persuading all the top crime writers to autograph first editions of their books for us to auction as a fundraiser.  She has also arranged for us to use committee and function rooms in Parliament free of charge for our Trustees’ meetings and events.

John Biggin OBE

Former Prison Director/Governor at HMP/YOI Doncaster and more recently at HMP/YOI Thameside, John is an innovator with many skills and is a highly valued adviser, ambassador, volunteer graphics designer, PR officer and general factotum for the charity.

Carolyn, the Marchioness of Bute*

Carolyn is a lady who contacted us out of the blue to offer her encouragement and support for our work and her praise for the excellent results we achieve. She is herself severly syslexic, as is her son, Lord Mount Stuart. They both struggled throughout their schooling, so they understand the needs of our clients very well.

ASSOCIATES (Volunteers)

Andrew Sheldon* – Senior Parliamentary Researcher and Mayor of Castle Point in Essex

Andrew often attends our meetings, helps with PR and parliamentary contacts and is currently raising funds for us as his designated mayoral charity.

Our reformed ex-offenders who have become our dedicated volunteers, employees or Cascade Foundation Ambassadors.

Other former staff members who may hopefully be able to rejoin us when we can afford to pay them, have also been key personnel, and we hope they will be again.

Community Volunteers – so many to mention!