Sharing Stories & Poems Can Change Lives

Vincent Van Gogh "Prisoners Exercising (after Doré)"Sharing stories and poems, the importance of libraries, creative writing, and the potential of books to change lives … all these things are at the heart of Litrasaurus.

Whilst we focus on encouraging and developing imagination and creativity in the young and young at heart, those self-same things have great power elsewhere. Nowhere more so than in prison.

One of the most powerful, at an individual level, is the prison library, now reinforced by reading groups. Together they enable an increasing number of prisoners to access books (both fiction and non-fiction) and poetry.

This works at many, many levels, but the core belief is that individuals should be seen as assets to society, not liabilities, and that they each have positive potential that can be nurtured. At the very least libraries and book groups assist with literacy, and at a higher level reading stories and poems helps to develop empathy – empathy is such a crucial life skill in any society; the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes and imagine a situation from their point of view.

No Bars To Reading - The Duchess of Cornwall - HM Prison Coldingley – meeting prisoners who have been taking part in schemes to improve literacyThese initiatives can also have a great positive impact much wider than just on those individuals in, or recently released from, prison – on their entire families. For instance there are now wonderful initiatives that give books to the children who come to visit a family member in prison. To pick just one quote that sums this up “‘It gave my son a chance to read with his dad. It’s the first time they’ve done that’”.

There are whole range of different organisations that work in this area and whilst we cannot mention them all two just caught our eye.


The first is The Prison Reading Group. To use a quote from somebody who has benefited “I have learned from my experiences in prison but gained a new life in books, all thanks to our book club”

Find out more about them CLICK HERE

If you really want to find out more about the impact of this do please read their report “What books can do behind bars” CLICK HERE


The second is “Books Unlocked” initiative by the National Literacy Trust. Again we leave it to a participant to comment “I feel a lot happier, calmer, enthusiastic, hopeful and positive!”

Find out more about them CLICK HERE


Timpson "We believe the best way to give great customer service is to give freedom to the colleagues that serve customers."


However in writing about this subject we want also just to mention the great work done by Timpsons (who we admire greatly, both John and his son James) and others in terms of assisting those re-entering society by giving them skills and then employment. It is not just ex-offenders but also care leavers and ex-military that they help.

Find out more in this short video CLICK HERE

Find out more about John Timpson CLICK HERE



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