As a traveller, James attended a succession of schools, often only for day at a time. Like all his family and friends, James had to leave school at the age of eleven, still unable to read and write. He started work as a yard cleaner in the family business, where his father sold goods from a van.
James married young and started a family of his own. He set up his own business, trimming and felling trees, with is wife doing all the paperwork side of things. This went well and he was able to purchase some land to settle his family on, to keep and train horses and to buy and sell vehicles.
While on remand, waiting to be sentenced, James engages fully in our project at Doncaster Prison. He said when he joined us that he wanted to learn to read and write, to take exams and gain qualifications.
“The turning point for me was when I met Jackie
and Colin in The Cascade Foundation.”
He is well-respected, sporty, good-mannered and enjoys fundraising for charities. He helped raise money for us by taking part in a sponsored football tournament, to purchase laptops for our learners.
Like many travellers now, James has come to realise the importance of reading and writing, which he knows will help him set up his business more effectively so that he doesn’t have to struggle.
Since he joined our learning programmes in five months ago, he has passed all three entry levels and is now working towards his level 1 in Functional Literacy Skills. At the same time, he became a Cascade mentor and is now halfway through his training to be become of our first fully qualified Learning Coaches, so that he can help others like him, especially some of the many travellers in the prison, several of whom he has encouraged to come and joins us and are now learning with The Cascade Foundation.
“Since I have been working with Jackie, I’ve been
helping the boys and it’s helping me progress a lot more.
So I’m helping them and they’re helping me!”
James can hardly believe his own progress. Just five months ago he couldn’t read or write at all. Now he writes long letters and homework pieces. And he is so proud of his reading.
“I’m telling everybody I can read. I CAN READ!”