Mentoring Plus was part of a national network of projects set up in 1998 as part of Crime Concern, with a focus on mentoring young people aged 12-17 identified as being at risk of offending.
When central government funding for these projects ended, the organisation became an independent charity to continue its work in 2005. It is the only remaining project from this national initiative.
The charity was supported from 2005 by Bath & NE Somerset Council, who commissioned us to provide community volunteer mentoring to young people at risk. This commission has evolved and now focuses on supporting wellbeing, school engagement and community connections, but we have won it consecutively ever since. We raised funds for young people’s activities and core costs from grant-giving organisations and our community. At this time we supported up to 30 young people at once.
We expanded our service to offer volunteer mentors to primary-aged children aged 7-11, supported by local primary schools and charitable funding. We were also offering embedded in-school mentoring by this time.
We first offered professional 1-1 mentoring to higher-need mentees. We also won a commission from the Dept for Education to deliver workplace group mentoring across the West of England in partnership with two Bristol-based charities. This work continues led by our partner Ablaze, though the project is no longer government funded.
We moved from western Bath to our current HQ at Riverside Youth Hub off the London Road, as a tenant of the local authority. With its garden, ball court, hall, kitchen, music studio and games area, Riverside transformed our ability to offer activities, 1-1 mentoring, partnership projects and space for community groups
We bid for and won a second local authority commission, Student & Family Support (SAFS). Two staff transferred to us under TUPE and we hired a further 2 to deliver this work supporting students to re-access mainstream education
We took over delivery of our youth clubs in partnership with local charity Bath YFC
We rapidly adapted our service to online provision during lockdowns, including individual mentoring, family support and activity groups. We delivered activity packs and encouraged outdoor mentoring when this became possible
We won another 3-5 year local authority commission for volunteer mentoring and our SAFS commission was extended for 2 further years. We now support 260+ young people across our core projects at any one time