Radio Wanno

Radio Wanno

Radio Wanno is the multi-award winning prison media and literacy project based in HMP Wandsworth.


HMP Wandsworth is the largest prison in Western Europe, a B Cat local serving London courts and as a prison it mirrors the male prison population demographic in the UK.

Information for prisoners can often be lost or misinterpreted especially when you understand that 48% of all prisoners are at, or below, the reading level expected of an 11 year old, and Dyslexia is three to four times more common amongst prisoners.

Many prisoners have learning difficulties that interferes with their ability to cope and creates difficulty in communicating, expressing themselves and understanding ordinary social cues.

“Radio Wanno has educated me in computer and studio skills, it’s given me confidence to speak in front of others, but most importantly it has given me a way out of crime, a chance to try and make a career out of media “ (NCFE Graduate).

Just under half of all prisoners have been expelled or permanently excluded from school and sixty percent of those in prison with no qualifications being re-convicted within a year of leaving prison compared with 45% of those with qualifications.

Our research has shown a need for a communication tool providing awareness to prisoners about access and opportunities in education and training in prison, in addition an opportunity to provide a set of learner’s qualifications and transformational life skills through a media project.


We developed an innovative community radio station called Radio Wanno. Programmes cover a wide range of information and complement the reducing re-offending pathways.

The station is an integral part of HMP Wandsworth’s Prison’s communications strategy linking into and creating awareness for Learning and Skills, Employment, Training and Education, while also addressing issues such as safer custody, drug awareness, offender behaviour and resettlement.

Although managed by radio and teaching professionals it is unique because the output is made by prisoners, with prisoners for prisoners.

Our emphasis is on a ‘real work’ experience, in the classroom prisoners study for a radio production, literacy, employability qualifications as well as gaining transferable skills in ICT, team-working, communication, self esteem, analytical thinking and working to a deadline.

“At first I thought it was a course just like any other, how wrong was I, I have learnt so much. Radio Wanno has taken my IT skills and computer knowledge to another level. I suffer from Dyslexia; I take my hat off to the team who has spent time with me to help me through. I had a small amount of IT knowledge when I started but I now know more than ever about IT and will take what I have learnt to the outside world with me” (Dave NCFE Graduate).

The Radio Wanno Broadcast Unit continues the ‘real work’ environment where participants can access on-the-job training and engage with work that is creative, challenging, responsible and rewarding. The prison based presenters and producers at Radio Wanno have been nominated for and won many prestigious media awards including Sony Radio Academy Awards, IVCA Clarion, Mind Media and Koestler Awards.

Radio Wanno aims to help with reducing re-offending by improving participants’ self-confidence, sense of self-worth and ability to communicate through media-based training and employment; and as a broadcast media project Radio Wanno is uniquely placed to have an impact on the wider prison community.

“During all the wasted time behind these gates, I have never experienced a course equivalent to Radio Wanno or One that remotely comes anywhere close to the endless opportunities that being part of Radio Wanno continues to offer me and others daily” (NCFE Graduate and BU Member)


We work closely with HMP Wandsworth to deliver a communication strategy that works locally and in line with the reducing re-offending pathways. Radio Wanno also provide some programme content to The National Prison Radio service managed for the National Offender Management Service by the prison education charity The Prison Radio Association.

A4E is our education partner for the project at HMP Wandsworth, they deliver the NCFE Level 1 and 2 in Radio Production as well as an NCFE employability and embedded literacy and numeracy qualifications.

Together the team that manage Radio Wanno recently won a Butler Trust Award, one of the highest awards in public office, for their services to prison radio.  Read more HERE.


Radio Wanno is a 24 hour community radio station, our programmes focus on rehabilitation linked to government policy around the 7 pathways of reducing re-offending.  The difference is that content is made by prisoners working alongside staff in the prison.

Prisoners tell us that the radio station provides the information needed to help them through their time in prison and because the content is made by them and is about them it is also authentic to them –  powerful targeted radio.   The men also supply content to the Sony Radio Academy nominated National Prison Radio and to other prisons through Made in Wandsworth.

The ethos behind Radio Wanno comes to the fore with the station slogan created by the men who work at the project.   ‘Made for you, Made by you, Made with you – Made in Wandsworth’.


HMP Wandsworth


Kevin Field

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