How can you help us?
We welcome new recruits to our ranks of enthusiastic and caring volunteers in the following roles:
- Peer-mentors, either within or outside prisons, trained by us to understand learning difficulties and how to support people who need help to overcome their fears
- Learning Coaches within or outside prisons – this is a completely new role, higher than mentors and trained by us to support and lead some of our innovative learning programmes, currently being accredited as a recognised qualification through OCR
- Community mentors, to work with:
- newly released offenders from prison project(s)
- other ex-offenders with learning difficulties
- community learners with learning difficulties
- youths with learning difficulties who are at risk of offending
- Family-liaison mentors to support and reunite
- families of offenders, ex-offenders or those at risk of offending
- Families of offenders or ex-offenders who have come through their own difficulties enough to offer support to other families of offenders or ex-offenders (and the same goes for families of youngsters at risk of offending)
- Other roles, such as tutor/trainer, driver, admin support, reception, repairs/maintenance/improvements or fundraising
We train volunteers to be familiar with our programmes to have a good understanding of dyslexia and other learning difficulties, and to adopt our own approaches to working with offenders, ex-offenders or those at risk of offending … and their families.
These skills are of course transferrable either to carry on mentoring or coaching ex-offenders after their release, or to work with youths at risk of offending. Many of our offender volunteers go on to take voluntary work or paid employment in mentoring and a few have been trained by us to be adult literacy teachers and have been employed in that role, including our own two employee, Phil who is our Release Support Worker.
Like any growing charity, we need more money than we have to progress and extend our work, so we are always on the lookout for interesting, fun ways to boost our funds.
If you have any good ideas or proven fundraising events to suggest, and/or you would be willing to take part in a fundraising activity in aid of The Cascade Foundation, please contact us and let us know.
Case-study – Sponsored Football in the prison
James, one of our offender-mentors in Doncaster prison, had the idea of playing a sponsored football tournament to raise money to help us buy learning resources for our programmes in the prison.
Organising anything on such a large scale in a prison involves a huge amount of red tape, but our staff and mentors worked hard and surmounted all the obstacles, then went round the prison, persuading inmates to pledge their precious pounds to our cause.
The day dawned, grey-skied but dry. A succession of five-a-side teams played football matches throughout the day, rounded off with a presentation to the winning teams by Independent Monitoring Board Chair, Lynne Hill MBE, and the new Director of HMP/YOI Doncaster, John Tolland.
This one sponsored football day raised an impressive £712, which will buy us two new laptops to enable more learners to use our specially designed dyslexia software to assess and progress their learning.
Our grateful thanks to all those who played on the day and to those who sponsored them.