Doncaster-based charity, The Cascade Foundation, has officially opened the doors of its new premises – The Cascade Health & Learning Hub on Marshgate in Doncaster town centre.
Over 70 people, including MP Rosie Winterton, attended the launch event on Friday 14th July to hear all about how the charity will be supporting local people with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia and those affected by head injuries, to gain valuable qualifications and return to employment.
Guest speakers, including Ken Lewis OBE, Victoria Blakeman, formerly advisor to NATO, the UN, USA and UK on prisons and deputy governor at HMP Chelmsford, John Biggin OBE, director of HMP Doncaster and Lee Parkinson from Efficiency North, talked about the numerous positive effects the charity has delivered so far and why they support its work. They were also joined by ex-prisoners who told their own stories of how their lives were transformed by the charity and its founder, Jackie Hewitt-Main.
Phil, a former inmate at HMP Chelmsford, spoke about how he left the prison with numerous qualifications and started his own property repairs and maintenance business for social landlords.
Dale Easter who spent over 22 years in and out of prison after discovering he was dyslexic in his early 20s explained how Jackie, his ‘Angel’, taught him to read and write, two skills which have changed his life. Dale, who has now been out of prison for three years, is now a volunteer with the charity and is focused on helping others achieve their potential.
Finally, Michael, a University graduate who ‘got in the with wrong crowd’ and ended up in HMP Doncaster shortly after he passed his finals, told guests how his whole attitude to life changed when he starting working alongside Jackie to help his fellow inmates learn to read and write using The Cascade Foundation’s sensory learning methods.
Explains Jackie: “It’s taken us two years to get to this point so this launch event marks a key milestone in the charity’s history. The event gave us the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly what The Cascade Foundation has achieved and what we want to achieve in the future.
“It was fantastic to speak to so many people who clearly share our vision of transforming the lives of those with learning difficulties. We have so many plans and so many people to help so the more people that know about what we’re doing the better. If everyone tells just one person about The Cascade Foundation, then the word will spread and we will attain our aspiration of becoming a national charity with a presence in every prison and community in the UK.”
Concludes Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central: “I know that Jackie and the Cascade Foundation do important work in supporting people who have learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, or who may have had a head injury, to progress into employment and learning, making a real difference to their lives, and I was delighted to be at the launch of the Cascade Health & Learning Hub to show my support for the work that they and their volunteers do.”