Skip to the main content

About the organisation

The Literacy Pirates

We believe that one to one attention is one of the most powerful educational tools in the world. With this kind of support, learning can be more adventurous and the results astounding. We aim to improve literacy and creativity among young people in our target area of Hackney, by bringing together committed and inspiring volunteers with our young pirates.

Find out more about UCL student’s experiences volunteering with us at…

Make learning an adventure for local young people - Volunteer once a month with The Hackney Pirates

The Hackney Pirates is an innovative education charity supporting young people aged 9-­12 to develop the literacy, confidence and perseverance that will help them achieve both in school and the world beyond. In our unconventional learning space, a pirate ship on Kingsland High Street, young people work on reading and creative writing projects that culminate in the publication of storybooks, CDs and websites.

We are looking for volunteers who are able to donate one afternoon a month (3.45pm to 6.45pm) to work one­to­one or in small groups with our Young Pirates. The Hackney Pirates gives young people one-to-one attention in an unconventional learning environment to support them with their literacy, confidence and perseverance. Hackney Pirates volunteers are central to our project, and we are looking for volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in supporting young people.

Role Aim: 

The Hackney Pirates are looking for enthusiastic and inspiring people to support young people’s learning at our after school sessions. Based on the premise that young people progress fastest when given personalised attention from an adult who cares, we give our young pirates the opportunity to benefit from one-to-one support from volunteers, as they work on creative writing projects that result in professionally published products such as storybooks, CDs and websites.


Sessions run from 3.45-6.45pm every week-day during term time with additional workshops during the summer holidays. For the first 45 minutes you will support a Young Pirate with reading a book of their choice, then after a break you participate in creative workshops, sometimes working in groups with other children and volunteers, and sometimes one-to-one. There is a 15 minute brief before the session and another 15 minute de-brief after the session.

Skills needed: 

Enthusiasm, patience, commitment.


3 hour training session, which covers our history, mission and pedagogy, child protection, health and safety in the space and basic literacy guidance.

138 Kingsland High Street London E8 2NS
Time commitment: 
1-3 hours per week
Opening times: 
*We ask for a commitment of just one session (3hours) per month. Those able to do more are of course very welcome! We ask volunteers to commit to completing a minimum of 12 session. We are happy for them to complete 12 sessions in as little time as they are able to. Monday to Friday (during school term) - 3.45 to 6.45
Once you’ve registered interest in this volunteering role, we’ll send your name and UCL email address to the organisation for their records. You’ll also receive information about the next steps to take if you do wish to take things forward. The organisation has signed up to our code of standards, which includes a commitment to protecting your data. We won’t share your information with anyone unless you’ve given explicit consent to. We’ll also retain your details so we can follow up to see how you’re getting on with your volunteering and offer support if necessary. We take good care of your data – you can see full details here