We hope all our supporters and friends are safe and feeling well.
Now more than ever, our young people need support. They are scared, cut off from friends, and isolated with families who faced enough challenges before all this happened. Many of our families face significant mental and physical health issues, many are in insecure or unsuitable housing and are on low incomes.
Sadly, some will be directly affected by Covid-19, and may lose loved ones.
Some of our cohort who have education and health care plans or social care support can still access school. Whether families feel able to get them there, or are comfortable with the health risks longer term, still remains to be seen. Either way, facing tough circumstances already, our young people are suffering much more anxiety, depression and family stress.
In these unprecedented times, what can Mentoring Plus do to support our most vulnerable young people?
We can carry on supporting current mentees facing the worst of this.
All of our young people will continue to receive our support, and we’re working creatively and flexibly to find the right way for each one.
Volunteer mentoring face to face has paused, but our skilled practitioners have stepped in. They are in touch with every family to find out about immediate needs we can help with, and how mentees would like support going forward.
Some volunteer mentors and their mentees are ‘meeting’ via Facetime and other online tools. We are rapidly updating safety and confidentiality procedures to protect this 1:1 interaction online.
Others are too young, don’t have data, are too crowded at home or prefer not to meet this way. With their usual brilliant creativity mentors are writing to mentees, sending art kits, or sending video messages via practitioners.
Our Student & Family Support mentees are used to meeting their practitioner for mentoring every week. Where possible, our team are doing this via phone or online. Some need contact more frequently at the moment, and we’re meeting that need too.
Our practitioners are ensuring every child and young person has support at least weekly, as they normally would, offering vital time to reflect on this extraordinary time.
We can support more young people who need it most.
We are supporting our staff members to assess the risks and needs for offering support to more young people as capacity allows. These might be those attending schools, or signposted by other organisations.
We’re in touch with all our schools now to find out how we can help them, what level of demand they anticipate and the safety and assessment provisions we can put in place.
We can look after our team’s wellbeing.
Our leadership team are working hard to support staff members who have been asked to self isolate due to having health conditions, or family members who do. They still have lots to contribute supporting young people remotely, but need to adjust to new circumstances.
We’re also getting used to regular contact via videoconferencing, to support each other and share best practice as ever.
You can help
We know how many appeals will go out from brilliant local charities also meeting urgent needs, but we have no choice but to add ours for the sake of the young people we support.
If you feel able to make a donation to support this extraordinary work, you will be directly helping young people in greatest need, as well as safeguarding our long-term ability to support them.