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Walking the walk – connecting our communities

Staff and volunteers are walking the walk with a sponsored Autumn walk in aid of Mentoring Plus starting from Riverside Youth Hub on Sat 4th Nov 2017. Starting at 9.30am there will be a choice of length of walk, ending back at Riverside with coffee, cake and/or soup. The longest walk will be to Keynsham, along the river, approx. 10 miles (we aim to walk 100 miles between us!). Please, join us, sponsor us, and share our page – https://localgiving.org/charity/mentoringplus/ Do it soon! Donations hub Local Giving will match any £10 donation made on Tuesday 17th Oct and for the next couple of days (until...
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Youth Reps – September 11th & 18th

After the long, lazy, hazy hiatus that is summer, it was time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to where we left off! With our young people spread over residential’s, family holidays and positive engagement with NCS, it was good to have everyone back in one piece and in fine fetter for the year ahead. The prerogative of the group this season is to plan, design and co – manage a ‘homework club’, which will provide a safe, happy and positive space for young people to access extra curricular help with the core subjects and more. With the...
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Youth Reps – June / July

Apologies are in order for the aloofness of our posts – in the absence of our updates, life has carried on, with many new events, finishing of projects and the annual Youth Reps excursion! Please see below for a short account of what’s been happening:   Annual Celebration Event: This year saw our team take on a more involved part in the running of the evenings, with their very own sub – room, where they did tremendously well in selling Youth Reps to the uninitiated (mentors / mentees) and letting people know how they can get involved in fundraising. This...
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CPD conference: supporting our vulnerable girls

“I’d like teachers to get us to check in with a score of how we are that day” “I hate when people say ‘oh it’s just how girls are’” “I’d like positive and powerful women to come in and talk at school” “Being different makes you an outcast” Want to know how vulnerable girls feel? The ones who don’t make trouble and don’t ask for help, but are desperately in need of support? You can hear from them directly as part of our Supporting Vulnerable Girls CPD Conference on Weds 8th November 2017. Mentoring Plus has been supporting children and...
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Youth Reps – April 25th & May 2nd

Welcome back to the latest edition of the Youth Reps blog! Here’s what our team have been up to in the last two meetings: April 25th: Please see below for an session brief, drawn up by a group of Bath Spa students who visited to conduct some research: “Our current idea is to do a collage task, which will involve two separate collages one with the theme being ‘My life before Mentoring Plus’ and ‘My life now’. The idea behind this, is hopefully to pull out some themes and ultimately descriptors which the Youth Reps identify themselves, which will contribute...
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Youth Reps

Hi All, please accept my utmost apologies in being less than on the ball with the blog. It’s been an incredibly busy period, all of which has been super positive!   In the last post we introduced bona fide blogs from our young people – this is in essence part of the groups drive in an effort to become more self – produced and give them the power to lead from the front. Basically less from me and more from where it counts! Please see below for an account of two of our recent sessions. From young people, for young...
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Our Wellbeing Plus Weekend

Mentoring Plus is all about improving wellbeing for young people. What better way to raise much-needed funds than to offer a women’s weekend away – one that’s all about their wellbeing too? Join us on 5th-7th May 2017 at the Gold Award five star Llangattock Mountain YHA near Crickhowell in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, where we have sole use of this beautiful eco-friendly lodge. Friday 5th May Arrive from 4pm to welcoming choice of teas and cakes. Settle into your en-suite room, sleeping 4 or 6 in full size comfortable bunks. Yogadoo founder Lucy Aston will lead an...
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Youth Reps – Feb 21st & 28th

Feb 21st:   Tonight was all about getting the the bottom of how we define Youth Reps and how we explain it to other young people – this came about after one of our group said “I never know what to say when mates ask me what we do in Youth Reps.” See below for the thoughts:   We are a group of young people who’ve been supported by Mentoring Plus. We help Mentoring Plus with ideas/ways to support young people better. We plan, organise and run projects that empower young people who’ve faced significant challenges to make the community...
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Youth Reps – Community Awards 2017

Hi all, its been an unusually quiet patch in the world of Youth Reps, but fear not, we have news, and not just any news…we’re WINNERS! Like they didn’t know that anyway… In recognition of the amazing, tireless work the group did in the setting up and running of the charity shop, they won the annual Chairmans Award! This was in the category of “Young Volunteer Group”, and was played out at a glitzy ceremony at Bath Guildhall. Did I hear you say we’re in Bath life magazine??     https://issuu.com/mediaclash/docs/bl333_final See below for our impressive write up: Winner –...
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Youth Reps – Jan 10th & 17th

Happy New Year!! Time to build upon some of the great things accomplished last year and take the group from strength to strength into 2017… Jan 10th: This session was the culmination of the 100% effort exerted in the first two workshops with Rebecca – Ladies and gentlemen I give you the ‘piece de resistance’, i.e, the grand finale – ‘All the Journeys I Never Took’ , the performance! Please see below for a snap shot of the evening – both in video and verse!     Feeling Lonely.. I remember catching my old house on fire as I couldn’t...
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Dec 13th – It’s Chrissssmasss!

We Couldn’t help but squeezing in one more guest before we bid farewell to 2016 – please step forward Charlotte, who dropped by to debrief on the recent TEDx talks! Four of our young people attended the recent conference and detailed how much inspiration they’d took away. Please take a look at the below link to give you a better flavour of what TEDx is all about: https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization With Charlotte’s support, we asked the young people these questions: Who were your favourite talks and why? Jacob – “because he turned his life around” Restorative justice talk. Wonky Veg – “they...
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Youth Reps – Nov 29th & Dec 6th

Nov 29th: Tonight was an invitation for mentors, young people and staff to come together for mentors skills sharing – with the hot discussion being about youth reps, the below makes for some interesting and very relevant reading: Session 1 – This allowed all to share the same room and hear these questions being targeted at Jim, Katy and Brad: What is Youth Reps? Why does it exist? Who is it for? What does it add to Mentoring Plus? Why do mentors need to know about it? Session 2 – Y Reps and Pop Up Shop. Discussed in a similar...
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Youth Reps – Nov 15th & 22nd

Time to get back into the flow of the fortnightly blog – apologies for the inconsistent publications of late, I will try harder! 15th Nov To wet your appetite, I’ll blow your mind with some of the juicier segments of our final report from the charity shop – this was completed with the trusty help of our young people and came from a reflective session two weeks ago: Positive Outcomes (young people’s) ·        Gave us an opportunity to be involved and run a project ·        “Allowed me to do things I’d usually be worried about” ·        Giving YP a different...
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New fundraising role vacancy

Grants & Trusts Manager – 18 month fixed term contract, 20 hrs per week For the past 18 years Mentoring Plus has worked across BathNES to support children and young people facing significant challenges. Alongside commissioning from our local council, over recent years demand for our service has led to a gradual expansion of our work. Our staff and trustee team are keen to sustain our core programme whilst exploring new avenues to connect young people with their community. We are recruiting for a Grants & Trusts Manager to sustain and grow our current income base from restricted income sources...
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Youth Reps – To the shop and beyond!

To all those who thought this admin had disappeared into a puff of smoke, here’s proof that i’m still here…. With the miniscule event that was the charity shop now resigned to history, I now feel in a better place to report back on some of its trials and tribulations! The past tense in history is no way in reference to it being resigned to history, as you’ll see, it’s long lasting flame still burns bright. ‘The Opportunity Shop’ was assembled by an intrepid team of young people, who’s mission was to improve employability, skills, confidence and spread the good...
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Help us fund an exciting new project

We know how much our young people value their community supporting them. Many teenagers struggle in the classroom due to poorly met needs or difficulties at home, and homework suffers too. As part of our commitment to reaching as many young people in needs as possible within our resources, we want to pilot a homework club in Bath, and we need your help. We will provide a welcoming setting where teenagers can study and revise after school. Inspired by US model 826national.org, local business people, university students and community members will be encouraging role models, helping young people in their...
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Youth Reps – Sept 6th & 13th

With time flying by quicker than we’re able to comprehend, it was yet again time to fervently crack on with the jobs in hand! Please read below for an account of our two most recent sessions down at the Percy HQ…. Sept 6th To get us started we welcomed our dear friend and colleague Ruth into the lions den – her challenge to the group was to decide on content, vision and purpose for a young peoples booklet. Ideas were banded around such as: positive examples of mentoring, experiential advice, signposting, spoken word / poetry and a “what’s on guide”...
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Youth Reps – August 23rd & 30th

With the Summer break behind us it’s time to push ahead with the planning of the MPlus charity shop! Not much to do then…. Firstly we payed a visit  to our new shop premises at 146 Walcot St – this is provisionally booked for the full week of the October Half Term. Opening dates will be Sat 22nd – Sat 29th, and more opening specifics will be released closer to the time.         Once back at the Y Reps depot we got to work with establishing a list of what needed doing. Please see below: Till –...
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Youth Reps – July 5th,6th + 12th

July 5th, 6th – Annual Celebration Event    What better way to showcase the vast array of talent amongst our group, than to throw them all together in one big event. Our team of Youth Reps helped in a variety of ways to make the event the spectacle that it become  – from being joint compe’re, to helping with the artistic materials, through to movingly powerful power point presentations. This was as much a celebration about mentoring, as it was the onward development of young people once mentoring closes, and Youth Reps begin. Well done!   July 12th Usually at...
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New role: Schools Without Walls project manager

Job Advert: School Without Walls Project Manager Aim of the Role:  To ensure the success of the School Without Walls (SWW) project by managing all aspects including operational matters, relationships with all stakeholders and administration. Fixed term contract: 1 year September 2016 -August 2017 Salary: £22K pro rata (0.5 / 2.5 days per week) Deadline for applications: Monday 18th July. Interviews Thursday 21st July 11am-3pm School Without Walls: embedding the arts in the primary curriculum School Without Walls is an enquiry based model of experiential and creative learning that transforms both the curriculum and the learning culture in schools. Transposing...
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A World We Want

What do our young people want for the world? We’ve been moved, surprised, amused and inspired to find out. For young people facing their own significant difficulties, you might expect art activities on the theme ‘A World We Want’ to focus on their needs – but their thinking and perception goes way beyond. Our exhibition this week at the Museum of Bath at Work gave our mentees the chance to express hopes and fears about cancer, women around the world, a fairer and kinder education system… you name it. They worked with professional artists to try photography, painting, film-making, spoken...
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Youth Reps – June 21st & 28th

June 21st   Following the success of the last mentors skill sharing session, we headed back to 117 Newbridge Hill for the latest installment: Cultural Isolation and Low Self – Esteem amongst Young People – this was a great chance for the young people to convey how they feel / felt, and for the mentors to get a better understanding of the young people they work with. What we found positive was the mentors relaying their personal experiences, which in some ways made them more relateable and real! This indirectly fed well into our manifesto, with us identifying material pressure,...
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Youth Reps 24th May & June 6th

Our first meet was all about the final preparation for our visit to the Houses of Parliament once we’d come back from the holidays. This was an occasion where we welcomed two budding youth reps from our secondary cohort – both of whom have showed aspiring political flair whilst being with MPlus. With the positive way they gelled into the fold, they’ll surely be joining the main group once their mentoring term has finished! Please see below for some of the eclectic range of questions that were devised by one young person in particular – all are based on our...
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Youth Reps – May 3rd + 10th

Our first meeting was an opportunity to invite over the member of youth parliament for Bath (Jacob Bishop-Ponte) for a discussion on all things manifesto! This was a great chance to share relatable matters on each others manifestos and see how we could most effectively work together. Please see below for some of the key points that were raised: Youth Reps will collaborate with other organisations such as Youth Connect, Southside etc to take our joint causes to the council chamber for a debate. This will (hopefully) be the start of a regular collaboration where we can all share and...
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Youth Reps – April 19th & 26th

To kick start us back into action after the Easter break we went on tour to 117 to join the MPlus team and mentors for a session on “Education Disengagement” – “What Difference Can Mentors Make?” This was a highly pertinent topic to our Reps who had all suffered in some way with previous disengagement. They were able to assert themselves on the big stage and didn’t shy away from getting involved in the sub – groups. Some quite personal, evocative things were recounted  by the young people, which helped the mentors see the human face of of the adversities...
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New fundraising vacancy at Mentoring Plus

We’re an effective and ambitious local charity which delivers mentoring and activities for vulnerable 7 to 21 year olds across Bath and North East Somerset. We’re delighted to be advertising a new role to enable us to safeguard and build sources of funding from our community. Our vision is a community in which all young people thrive. Our mission is to inspire our community to raise the aspirations of our young and most vulnerable. Our model offers young people a mix of one to one mentoring from local volunteers with a wide range of positive activities. Since 1998 our young people...
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Youth Reps March 1st and 8th

With our campaigning for the “Peoples Project” beginning in earnest, we showed a gusto approach and headed over to a blustery Twerton Park for a spot of publicity / awareness. In attendance were 400 + hardy soles, of which we must have wrangled (we hope) at least a third into taking the plunge and casting the worthwhile vote. A big thank to Bob Chester for making this happen. Please see the rather embarrassing mascot image!   And to carry things on we spent a session at Riverside recording our spoken word from a fortnight ago – the young people put on...
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Youth Reps 10th and 23rd Feb

To get the ball rolling we spent the afternoon in the company of the ITV cameras, who were following our young people around filming for the “Peoples Project”…..If you haven’t already voted, please delve into the website for the quick voting link! The day culminated with the Youth Reps attending a talk hosted by “Action Against Child Poverty” at the Egg theatre. This was a chance for the young people to officially launch the manifesto in front of a busy auditorium (absolutely no pressure) – Pressure, what pressure?? They delivered the speech both confidently and  eloquently, capturing the audiences attention...
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Youth Reps – 26th Jan and 2nd Feb

With a last minute tweak to what we had planned, we used the  meeting to process what happened the week before – this allowed us to keep all the Youth Reps informed of how it went and to raise any key points that weren’t brought up. On a massive positive note, we managed to raise our first sizeable chunk of money towards the Social Enterprise – Who’d have thought a pair of discarded decks would add £150 to the coffers?!   Onto week two and the momentum showed no sign of letting up! We warmly welcomed the kind help of...
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Youth Reps 9th + 16th January

To welcome in the New Year we invited a group of Social Care students from Bath Uni who are undertaking a Community Profiling project about motivations and barriers to volunteering. They posed a range of questions to our young people, including: What’s your experience of the mentoring process? The young people spoke with high regard about this and shared some of their own personal experiences. Is masculinity a barrier to males volunteering as mentors? Our young people suggested that males can feel “less of a man” and that their street cred can be impacted – this was mainly in terms of...
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Our anti-bullying workshops: all worth while

I knew all the effort had been worth while when I started hearing what children in years 5 and 6 said during our first anti-bullying workshops. “I’ve learnt that everyone is the same, if I don’t want to be their friend then it should be because of their personality, and not how they look or sound,” said a year sixer. Another added: “”I learnt if someone’s in trouble with a bully you should help them.” I’d been thinking about how to get primary school pupils to talk about the reasons behind bullying and ways to cope with it for a...
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Youth Reps – 1st and 8th December

The first of our sessions was spent welcoming Bath University students from the Lloyds Scholars programme, who were here to discuss why they chose us as a charity for their community volunteering, and how we could work in partnership. This was a fantastic opportunity for our young people to relate to Uni students, who’d faced significant life struggles and overcome them by gaining entry to University! They gave a compelling account of their stories and were tangible proof that there are no barriers in achieving your dreams. We plan to work in tandem throughout 2016, and here are some of the...
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Youth Reps – 17th and 24th November

Firstly, we had an engaging session discussing what we can do in relation to our three manifesto aims: Better Mental Health: Raise awareness in young people – If young people are more aware of the issues, they can be more proactive in making change. Provide information – PR campaign to spread the message. Do this in the form of presentations and leaflets, signposting what help is available – Contacts for support agencies. Multimedia. Do an interactive activity – A scenario based role play on what better mental health might look like. This can be done in the town centre, clubs,...
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Gardening Weekend with Herman Miller 14th / 15th November

Thanks to the kind generosity of Herman Miller, we spent the weekend sprucing up the 117 garden. Despite some horrific weather, spirits remained high and lots of young people and volunteers alike were able to offer their time and muscle power. The obligatory offerings of pizza & jacket potatoes were incentive enough. Now we have a resplendent two tiered garden, with easy access pathways for our young people to enjoy, without fear of a pair of size 9’s squashing the the marrows! In addition we have some tyre planters, several planting boxes, trellis and a well constructed terrace, which I’m...
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Youth Reps – 3rd and 10th November

Our first session allowed us to collectively discuss our manifesto and further elaborate on our existing framework: Better Mental Health Services: What would better look like? 1) Increased awareness across county of mental health challenges faced by young people 2) Greater flexibility in models – time-scales, approaches, venues 3) More space and time to build trust between workers and young people 4) Goals / outcomes set by young people not service What specifically can we do? Kinder Education System: What would kinder look like? 1) Flexibility, compassion and resource given to students facing significant challenges 2) Better communication between schools and support...
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Youth Reps – 14th and 20th Oct

On the 14th we made our way to Bristol Grammar School to deliver the speech we’d worked hard at the week before. Both Duncan & Brad stole the show with superbly presented pieces, which were well received by the audience. Jamie didn’t do too bad either! The speeches reflected so eloquently why mentoring is such an important service to our young people and the real difference it can make. Well done guys! Then there was the small matter of the “Jamie’s Farm Celebration Event”. This was a wonderful occasion for all the young people who attended our summer residential to...
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Youth Reps – 29th Sept and 6th Oct

So a couple of weeks ago we welcomed film-maker and friend of the project Tom Downs along to Youth Reps to film me, Brad and Jamie….Hollywood stars of the future – Then there was me…! The idea was for young people and referrers to gain an insight into what amazing opportunities we offer our 12 – 21 year olds… Not only through the great work done in mentoring, but through Youth Reps and Young Company also. Have a look at the results. Moving onto last week. One word: “SPEECH”. With a speech this week at Bristol Grammar School, only around...
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Youth Reps – What is mentoring?

So with our new name established (Youth Reps), we carried on with our usual start of check ins and games, then moved onto asking the group a series of questions about what mentoring is and isn’t. Here’s how it went! What is mentoring? 1) Commitment 2) Passion within role 3) Enabling confidence – Helpful 4) Inspirational 5) Aspirational 6) Flexible What mentoring isn’t? 1) Therapy 2) Compulsory / Mandatory 3) Judgemental 4) Boring / Tedious 5) Discriminatory These questions drew out a really honest insight into how our young people perceive the service!  

Youth Reps

So after our first meeting of the year we decided our old names of “Young Action Group” and “Young Reps” were resigned to history! The word young means just that and it’s not representative of who and what we are…. Youth voices was suggested to the group as an idea – Quote “Young voices sounds like a singing group”. Needless to say this is also resigned to the bin. Watch this space. Had some fun playing games, with Jamie introducing the group to empire and me with a blindfolded game. Both bringing laughter and strong teamwork! Looking forward to next week  when...
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Our Jamie’s Farm summer residential

10 young people spent a week at this residential farm centre near Box, Wiltshire during August. This included two older participants in the role of peer mentors, helping to set the tone and enable everyone to join in activities. All young people involved have significant needs, arising from family breakdown, mental health issues, behavioural difficulties or risk of school exclusion. The total cost of the full-board project including all Jamie’s Farm staff and 3 Mentoring Plus staff was £6,000. We are very grateful for the support of our funders, the Bath Half Marathon Fund, Somerset Crimebeat and The Hedley Foundation,...
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Get baking for Mentoring Plus!

Inspired by the new series of The Great British Bakeoff and the brilliant Bath belle, Mary Berry, we’re challenging you to #BakeNTake for Mentoring Plus. After all, who doesn’t love a nice cake with their cuppa? Simply bake your favourite cake, tweet us a photo with #BakeNTake, and sell slices of your creation to your friends, colleagues or family. Please send us the proceeds via our Just Giving page (link: https://www.justgiving.com/mentoringplus/) Don’t forget to tag your friends in your tweet to challenge them to BakeNTake too. Please include our donation link – https://www.justgiving.com/mentoringplus/ This rather amazing example was rustled up by...
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Our new team member

We’re excited to welcome our new Mentoring Practitioner, Kev Long, who joins us this summer to look after our 12-21 year old male mentees. After a relatively low-key first week, Kev’s baptism of fire is a week’s residential for young people at Jamie’s Farm in Wiltshire. Throw in an assault course and clay pigeon shooting the following week, and he should be getting the measure of Mentoring Plus pretty fast. Kev comes to us with very sound experience counselling and supporting people with issues including addiction, mental health problems and homelessness. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact his sporty,...
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Inspired to get creative

I learned something today… it’s ok for adults to doodle, draw and colour in! So now we’re all set to get a doodle board on the office wall at Mentoring Plus. Our creative soul needs to be released: it’s important for us all. That’s what Sir Ken Robinson, Patron of 5x5x5=creativity says. I’m still buzzing after seeing him give a keynote speech at Bath Spa University on creativity in education. By creativity, he means using our imagination in a creative way. Not just being artistic, but problem solving in our everyday life – at work or play. His challenge is...
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New Jobs at Mentoring Plus

We’re an effective and ambitious local charity which delivers mentoring and activities for vulnerable 8 to 21 year olds across Bath and North East Somerset. We’re delighted to be advertising two roles to bring new energy and ideas to our work. Our vision is a community in which all young people thrive. Our mission is to inspire our community to raise the aspirations of our young and most vulnerable. Our model offers young people a mix of one to one mentoring from local volunteers with a wide range of positive activities. For over fifteen years our young people have been telling...
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A lover not a fighter?

The Mentoring Plus Young Reps have met nearly all the parliamentary candidates for Bath now, asking them our own questions about how each would represent Bath and the interests of young people. Last but not least was the Liberal Democrat candidate, Steve Bradley. (As with all our interviews, we’ve done our best to summarise accurately what was said, but if errors are included, that’s our doing not the candidate’s.) M+: What is your favourite colour? SB: My favourite colour is red, mainly because it is the colour of my home football team. M+: Did you have any hard times growing...
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A conservative interview

Continuing their project meeting every would-be MP for Bath, the Mentoring Plus Young Reps interviewed Ben Howlett, the Conservative candidate. The young people had formulated the questions and took turns to ask them, while I did my best to keep accurate notes! M+: What is your favourite colour? BH: Red M+: Did you have any hard times growing up? BH: Yes, two things; I was diagnosed with dyslexia, and I had come out as gay in a village where no one accepted you. M+: Why do you want to be the MP for Bath? BH: Bath is the best city...
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A meetup with UKIP

We met Julian Deverell, UKIP’s candidate for Bath in the election. It was part of our project to meet all the candidates for our Young Reps, young people who have been mentored within Mentoring Plus and are now involved with helping the charity and other young people. The group thought up questions beforehand and took it in turns to ask him. As with our other reports, we’ve tried to summarise what Julian said as accurately as we can, but any errors made are ours not his. M+: What is your favourite colour? JD: My favourite colour is bright red. I...
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Meeting the Greens

The Mentoring Plus Young Reps met with the candidate for the Green Party, Dominic Tristram. He came across as very friendly and sympathetic, showing understanding about the problems and hard times that young people face today in Bath. We all came up with a set of questions for him, then when he arrived the Reps took it in turns to ask him them and he was more than happy to answer them. We’ve tried to give an accurate summary of what he said but it’s our mistake if anything is wrong. M+: What is your favourite colour? DT: Luckily, green...
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Representing Mentoring Plus – with Sam Cam

It’s not every day that you get invited to number 10 Downing Street, and Tuesday was my first in 46 years. I was delighted as a Trustee of Mentoring Plus to get some recognition for the charity outside Bath and the immediate area. So what was it like? My first impressions were that it is part conference centre, part hotel and part home, which is effectively what it is. The initial corridors “of power” are quite perfunctory, but on going upstairs you get the feel of the importance of the place as you are followed by the eyes of every...
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