Founded in 2013 by Jackie Hewitt-Main, The Cascade Foundation has a proven track record working with prisoners and has so far helped thousands of offenders in the south of England make rapid progress via its innovative, multi-sensory approach to learning. This has, in turn, reduced frustration, aggression and dramatically reduced re-offending rates as well as increasing employment prospects.
The charity also trains volunteers to be mentors and learning coaches to help transform lives for a safer society.
Born and raised in Essex, Jackie herself was diagnosed with dyslexia in her 40s and established The Cascade Foundation after her youngest son, Stuart, ended up with severe brain injuries following a car accident aged 15. Giving up everything to care for and rehabilitate him, Jackie strived to find different ways of learning to help Stuart to get better. Through her intensive research she came up with a new, combined approach and was able to teach him to speak, read and write once more.
Explains Jackie: “53% of UK prisoners and unemployed people living in local communities across Doncaster have dyslexia or similar learning difficulties. The educational needs of these people, not to mention individuals with head injuries, are largely ignored simple because they are unable to respond to traditional teaching and learning methods – that’s where The Cascade Foundation comes in.
“Our projects, both in prisons and in the local community, are aimed at offenders, ex-offenders ex-service personnel, people on benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, NEETs and travellers and are specifically designed to redress the educational balance by improving literacy and numeracy and in a way that these people can understand.”
Commenting on The Cascade Foundation’s work in HMP Chelmsford, central government operations director within the criminal justice system, Jon Biggin OBE said: “The Cascade Foundation was like a breath of fresh air to the prison… The potential for sustained and often life-changing results for prisoners going through this programme cannot be underestimated … The potential for good that this programme can deliver is not only worth investing in, but embracing as part of the DNA of our prison.”
Adds Jackie: “Since we launched The Cascade Foundation we have delivered numerous, hugely successful prison projects, including work in HMP Doncaster, that have seen thousands of repeat offenders turn their lives around. I never get bored of that – it has to be one of the most rewarding jobs there is!
“Our decision to stay in Doncaster will enable us to work with even more people who require our help to turn their lives around. My aim is to secure a self-sustainable and thriving future for The Cascade Foundation.”
The charity is ready and raring to start its new chapter in South Yorkshire with permanent premises in Doncaster town centre in the pipeline. Jackie and her team have ambitious plans for The Cascade Foundation Learning Hub with activity zones, a community café, two functioning kitchens, a Cascade DIY service, working with NEETs youngsters, meeting rooms for hire and much more.
Concludes Jackie: “It’s time to put The Cascade Foundation firmly on the map but we can’t do that on our own. If anyone would like to find out more about what we do, is affected by dyslexia, head injury or learning difficulties or would like to become part of team, we’d love to hear from you!”
Visit www.thecascadefoundation.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01302 770595