Hear from our volunteers

We’re thrilled to have over 300 volunteers that join us aboard our ships for at least a few hours every month.

The children get to meet a swathe of volunteers – from university students to poets to actors to teachers, and so many more!

Below you can learn more about some of our Crewmates and how they got involved. A huge salute to all of our wonderful volunteers – we wouldn’t be able to do it without you!


I’m a theatre-maker, writer and researcher, teaching in the Drama department at the University of Roehampton. I’ve been volunteering at Hackney Ship since summer 2017 after stopping by in the café by chance after walking down Kingsland Hight Street for the 1000th time.

One of my own children was severely dyslexic and it’s been incredibly satisfying to see him overcome his difficulties and to enjoy reading and writing.

Reading and writing together with young people in the sessions is always surprising and inspiring and I’ve had some very thought-provoking conversations about topics, ranging from the future of Hackney to what happens at the end of the universe..


The first time I heard of the Literacy Pirates was at university during Volunteering Week in 2017. Since volunteering I’ve gained lots of transferable skills that have helped me with my studies and applying for work.

Approaching obstacles with constant positivity and explaining that mistakes are common at any age has not only improved my Young Pirates’ confidence but also my own!

It’s also convenient that I can book sessions whenever I want, making sure they fit in with my study and work schedule.

With the flexible commitment, I feel like an active part of a project that makes a real difference to young people’s lives.


I found out about the Literacy Pirates through one of my teachers at my sixth form college. Once I heard out about it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I try to volunteer about once every one to two weeks but the Literacy Pirates is really flexible so if you can’t commit to session for a few weeks, its fine, so long as you complete a minimum of 10 sessions. 

It is this flexibility that allows me to fit volunteering around my studies – and in a really fun way. Volunteering has also helped me with my university application. I’ve been able to reference the skills I’ve learned, such as communication and leadership, and I’ve also found the experience really rewarding. 

Form assembly

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