****Mentoring during the COVID19 situation****
We want to continue to offer emotional support to our mentees during the current crisis, whilst it is physically possible for our staff and volunteers to do so. During a lockdown it isn’t possible for our mentors to meet their mentee in the usual way. Therefore, the majority of our current mentoring relationships have transitioned from meeting up in person to a mix of video calls, emails, phone calls, texts or letter writing. We appreciate this will not work for every young person, so we are working with parents/carers to find something that will work with their child. We have issued guidelines for safe working to all our current mentors and also to our mentee’s parents/carers.
We are currently in the process of working out how to start new mentoring relationships and will contact parents/carers of young people on our waiting list when they get near to the top of the list to discuss this. New mentoring relationships will begin with video calls, and our hope will be that in time, these can transition to meeting in person once the lockdown has finished, taking into account any measures still advised by the government for social distancing.
To find out more about our Mentoring Project please watch this short video:
*Read our latest Mentoring Impact Report here….Mentoring Impact WAM Youth 2018
“Pupils speak with pride about their involvement in ‘WAM’, a local initiative that mentors young people, challenges discrimination and insists that, ‘We All Matter’. ”
Ofsted Report, Winchcombe School Dec 2018
“Cleeve School has worked with WAM for over three years now and at all times have found their service highly skilled, professional and completely dedicated to the betterment of each individual student referred to them. Their in school mentoring service is excellent and our students have benefited from the bespoke mentors WAM can offer. The fact that the mentors come from a variety of professions and backgrounds means that they can fit the right adult to the right student, we have seen excellent results for the students who have had this mentoring over a sustained period of time.”
Kerala Cole, Director of Inclusion at Cleeve School
What is Mentoring?
Our mentoring service provides a child or young person with a trusted adult to spend time with, talk to, work through things. The key principle of our mentoring is the transformative power of safe and positive relationships. The role of our mentors is simply being there to support a child or young person consistently over a period of around 12 months. This can take different forms depending on the age and needs of the children. For example some mentors will take their mentees out for hot chocolate and a chat, others will go for bike rides or play other sports. Some will go to the cinema, go for dog walks, visit places of interest or those with younger children might just visit the park or play games. Sometimes the mentoring occurs within school time & at school, other times it’s outside of school. It is child led and the emphasis is on building the relationship, not working through programmes or rigid targets although we do regularly review progress to ensure the child’s needs are being met.
For young people who have a Christian faith or who have been brought up within a Christian family, we offer a Christian mentoring programme. This runs in the same way as our main mentoring programme but we will endeavour to match the young person with an adult who shares their faith and can encourage them on their faith journey as well as every other aspect of their life.
Our mentors are trained volunteers who are all DBS checked and recruited via a thorough process of application, references, a 2 stage interview and 4 – 6 session training programme. They come from all walks of life and experiences and faiths and there is a careful matching process between mentee and mentor so that the child will feel most comfortable and understood by their mentor. We are working with children aged between 7 and 17 in and around the Winchcombe, Bishops Cleeve, Tewkesbury & Cheltenham area.
We take referrals from local Schools, Young Carers, Social Services and from young people and parents directly. We are committed to placing young people’s needs before any programme and to persevering in building positive relationships based on trust and mutual respect. We believe this takes time and that we will see the most benefit to a young person when consistent support over a significant period of time is offered, rather than short term or one off interventions. With this in mind we place a high value on consistency of staff/volunteers and operate with high ratios of staff to young people.
What does it cost?
For the young person it costs nothing! We charge schools and agencies £85 per month per young person for weekly mentoring for 12 months. We have a limited number of grant funded places on the programme thanks to Gloucestershire County Council’s Thriving Communities Fund however the waiting list for these places is currently 6-8 months. We are trying to raise enough money through grants and fundraising so that we can offer this service to schools and other organisations without charge, particularly in light of current cuts to school budgets across our area. In previous years our mentoring project has been supported financially by the Gloucestershire Community Foundation, Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund, Tewkesbury Borough Council, Winchcombe Youth Hub, Winchcombe Rotary Club, Cleeve Hill 41 Club, Encounter Church, Winchcombe and various individuals. We are currently seeking further funding to continue this work. If this programme is something you would like to support financially, please contact us at email@example.com.
What do I do next?
If you are young person, parent or carer in the Winchcombe area who would like a mentor for you or your child please contact us. If we are already working with your school or youth centre we will usually encourage you to apply to us through them. If you are a school or other organisation wanting to work with us please contact us. We have a clear process for working with schools and we will send you an information pack. We are always keen to partner with other organisations so if you are a local community group keen to be involved do get in touch! If you are interested in becoming a mentor then contact us and we will arrange a time to meet you and chat this through. Please contact us for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01242 603678.