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Lou Welch

Senior Practitioner - Volunteer Mentoring

Responsibilities: I am responsible for overseeing our volunteer mentoring program and supporting our team which include staff members, volunteer mentors and young people. I work with our 11–21-year-olds (up to 25 if they have an SEND diagnosis), finding out about them and matching them up with one of our fabulous volunteer mentors. I go on a journey with the mentor and the young person supporting them every step of the way to ensure a positive experience for all.

Previous Experience: I grew up in Nottingham before moving to Bristol for University where I ended up putting down my roots. I initially worked as a Teaching Assistant in mainstream schools and realised that I enjoyed making a difference to young people’s lives, so I decided to train as a primary school teacher. I taught reception aged children in a mainstream school and subsequently taught for several years in a specialist unit supporting pupils with autism or social communicative difficulties and their families. In addition to this, I also worked in an advisory role to support schools on how to include all children within their setting.

Likes mentoring plus because: As a team we are all passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people and we put them at the centre of everything that we do. We want all young people to celebrate successes and achieve their full potential. We are a supportive bunch!

Good at: Organising and looking after people. My friends call me the ‘Mother of the group!’ I also love motor sport and my passion outside of work lies in the social side of the American Car Scene and drag racing. My husband and I currently sport a few American Vans and in the past have built, worked on and raced a number of hot rod cars.

Not so Good at: Technology- until recently I had a very basic mobile phone which was over 20 years old and even though I now own a SMART phone, I’m still not very good at using it! When I’m in the office, I am regularly on the phone to ICT support!

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Each young person we support has a different story to tell - each one as powerful as the next.