This is a county famous for its beauty and heritage, but it includes areas of high deprivation and rural isolation. For a young person affected by poverty, family breakdown, physical and mental health issues or other difficulties, this is not a beautiful place.
Over half the young people referred to us are identified as at risk of school exclusion, a huge risk factor for that student’s future.
Over half are also affected by significant challenges at home, more than a third are exhibiting anti-social behaviour, while nearly a quarter are suffering emotional harm.
Some are in care, some are young carers themselves.
Together, these factors place that young person at significant risk. Without support, they may go on to offend, to leave education or training, to harm or be harmed.
Your support can halt that process. Your money pays for a simple, effective programme which re-connects young people to their community. It helps them thrive and feel happy.
The majority of our funds go directly to the practitioners who support young people and their mentors.
Each practitioner has a full caseload of matched pairs. They work with newly referred mentees to understand and meet their needs, and they support each young person’s exit plan at the end of mentoring.
Throughout the year, they keep closely involved in each mentoring partnership. They manage cases with more complex needs and multi-agency support, focused always on the interests of the young person. They organise activities and ensure young people can access them.
We ask a lot of time and commitment of our volunteers. It’s right that we offer to contribute to their travel expenses, and provide a limited monthly budget for mentoring meetings. This ensures anyone can volunteer, including low-income and unwaged mentors.
The monthly allowance sets realistic expectations for entertainments or refreshments when mentors and mentees meet, and can be used by mentors to help young people plan and budget.
We also invest in group clinical supervision for our mentors, enabling them to offload concerns and gain confidence.
While not a significant cost, our activities for young people are invaluable. Group work helps young people build confidence and teamwork skills, and exposure to new places, skills and experiences is vital to raise aspirations.
In a county rich in cultural and recreational opportunities, we focus on helping young people make connections to world-class organisations and feel a sense of belonging to this heritage.
Activities have included: quad biking, rowing, gardening, photography, art, video-making, football, digital music, hip hop, spoken word poetry, farm visits, baking, filming, drama, panto, clay pigeon shooting, paintball, forest school, visits to country estates, kayaking, lantern making, assault courses, go-karting and more.