John Armitage is a 57-year-old prison officer who spends around six hours a week helping school-based reading schemes for Reading Matters for Life
Why and when did you become involved with Reading Matters for Life?
I have always had a bee in my bonnet about the basics of education and in 2001 my local paper said the charity was looking for volunteers. I thought it would be impossible to volunteer without getting time off work, but management agreed it was something the Prison Service should be involved with because more than half of our inmates struggle with literacy and numeracy.
Approximately how much time do you give per year? I spend about 200 hours helping 12-year-olds to improve their reading. That comprises four hours at school and about two hours of preparing lessons each week.
What do you bring to Reading Matters? Passion that comes from being a father of five sons and grandfather of four grandsons. People will struggle in life without the ability to read at a reasonable standard.
Do you support any other organisations? My family sponsors a girl in Mozambique through Action Aid and I make a yearly donation to the Parkinson's Disease Society.