Shannon Trust

Camelot run a games business built to do public good. For more than 20 years, they have been changing lives; making thousands of millionaires and raising billions for Good Causes, as the steward of the UK’s National Lottery.

As a Media Trust corporate member, Camelot was looking for a way to engage their staff and help a charity that needed support. As soon as we presented them with the challenge of supporting Shannon Trust with their communications strategy, the Camelot staff were eager to step up. We invited the two organisations to get together for a Charity Challenge day in February.

The charity’s vision is to make every prisoner a reader. They want to engage with every non-reading prisoners early in their sentence, to open up new avenues of opportunity and give them hope for a new and better life. By providing learners with opportunities to develop life skills, it better equips them to live as contributing members of society.

Shannon Trust team and experts from Camelot

The Challenge

Shannon Trust is a small organisation with a small team of staff and around 125 volunteers. Working across 124 prisons in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Shannon Trust supports and inspires over 4,000 prisoners a year to start learning to read with the help of a fellow prisoner.

Within prisons their work is widely known and they have an excellent reputation, but outside of the prisons it is a very different story and the charity wanted to change the way they are seen by the public to coincide with the release of their reading programme, ‘Turning Pages’; a fantastic resource not just for prisoners but for all adults who are learning to read.

The charity found it very difficult to promote their impact because, as they work with prisoners, they couldn’t use images, videos and sound recordings of their beneficiaries. They wanted to find another way to show how effective they are and to promote the charity’s services.

They wanted to use Camelot’s expertise to clarify their position on engaging with people beyond their normal reach and then create a strategy over the next two years to achieve this.

The Outcome

Sara, Rhian and Jane from Camelot really ‘got’ Shannon Trust. They had done so much preparation beforehand and had great suggestions and food for thought that we could actually take forward.”

The Camelot team suggested to Shannon Trust they were limiting their audience by just talking about prisons. Their tagline and vision: ‘Every prisoner a reader’, singled out prisoners as the only beneficiaries to the charity. Camelot advised that by talking about reading instead they would broaden their engagement.

They proposed that the team should use the phrase, ‘Unlocking the power of reading,’ as everyone can relate to that messaging, yet it still hints at the work that Shannon Trust does with prisoners.

The charity had also wanted to learn more about how they could use social media to promote themselves, so the team at Camelot set up an additional meeting for them to speak to Charles Stanton, Camelot’s Social Media Manager. From this, Shannon Trust set up their own LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.

Before Camelot came to our offices we had reached everyone in our network and we needed to raise awareness of our work in a different way.

Angela Cairns, CEO of Shannon Trust

Since the Charity Challenge, Shannon Trust have been shortlisted for an Action for Equity Award which they attribute to the change of approach in their communications strategy, advised by the Camelot team.

They have noticed that their vacancies for mentors is the lowest it has ever been, and although they can’t credit the Camelot team for this directly, they feel that it is partly down to the changes in their monthly newsletter ‘Bookmark’, which has been cut down and is now consistent with their communications and easier to read and spot opportunities in.

Rhian Sturdy, Strategy and Innovation Manager at Camelot said: “I volunteered to work with Shannon Trust because it was something close to my heart.

Camelot supports Shannon Trust through the National Lottery Fund but it is great to be able to see the cause first hand – and to see what Shannon Trust have done so far in such a short amount of time;  and to already see an impact from that is amazing!”

Media Trust provided us with a variety of charities to choose from but when I read about what Shannon Trust did it made me want to work with them - there was an immediate fit.

Rhian Sturdy, Strategy and Innovation Manager at Camelot

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