Local residents who could spare some time to help inspire, encourage and motivate young people who have experienced being in care are urged to sign up to the Care Leaver Mentoring Scheme delivered by BCP Council.
The drive for more volunteers comes as the Council marks National Care Leavers’ Week (28 Oct – 3 Nov 2019) which celebrates and gives recognition to the contribution and achievements of young people who have experienced being in care.
A mentor volunteers would be required to offer a couple of hours a week for at least one year to provide one-to-one support to a young adult aged 18-25 years, who has recently left care. The mentor will play a valuable role in providing ongoing support and advice to a young person as they make the transition from leaving care to living independently.
Councillor Sandra Moore, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “When a young adult leaves the care system, it can often be a lonely or confusing time for them. Although our care leavers are supported by the Council, having a volunteer mentor can provide the young person with a trusted long-term relationship which can help with their development and help them build essential life skills for the future.”
Local mentor, Lisa who is self-employed, said: “It’s easy to underestimate how much a short amount of your time can have a hugely positive influence on someone’s life. How many of us have someone in our lives who makes time to see us every week, listens to what’s going on in our lives, without passing judgement or trying to influence us to do things their way? Someone who reminds us of our strengths, empowering us to work through life's challenges, cheering us on through the good times, helping us to keep perspective when we're on shakier ground. That’s the gift we offer as a mentor. In turn, you will have the privilege of getting to know an inspiring young person, you’ll gain skills and knowledge that will make you a better friend and colleague, and you’ll be part of team of people who are changing the world, for one young person at a time.”
Pete, aged 21, who has experienced being in care and has benefited from the mentoring service, said: “It is like having a new friend that you want to talk to and they will listen and really understand what I am saying, and give me feedback. Even when I don’t want to do something that is good for me, she encourages me. I’ve been seeing my mentor for well over a year and I wouldn’t change a thing. She has the empathy to be there for me. It is not just chatting, it’s listening and about the connection and understanding. She has been there for me. It normally takes years to develop that trust with someone – but I feel I can really trust my mentor. The sessions are the anchor of my week, it is the point in my week where I know what is going to happen. It’s the one consistent thing.”
Mentoring experience is not needed, just the skills learnt along the way and volunteers will be linked with a care leaver based on similar likes and interests. Full training and support will be provided. Expenses, including travel, will be covered. DBS checks will be required. Volunteers must be aged 18 plus.
For more information and to apply:
T: 01202 456140