"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.
To find out more about our Mentoring Project please watch this short video.
You can also read our latest Mentoring Impact Report from 2018.
Mentoring During COVID-19
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, bearing in mind any health vulnerabilities we have.
Regular changes to lockdown and tier restrictions mean we need to keep changing the ways that we meet young people, but we are doing our best to maintain relationships and to offer continuous support. Our mentors are working within our Covid19 risk assessment and guidance.
In the current lockdown restrictions we are:-
- Meeting in person where we can, this is generally outside, and in public spaces
- Meeting virtually through video calls
- Offering phone calls, emails or even letter writing where suitable
Where schools allow it, and our mentors feel comfortable doing so, some of our mentors are meeting 1:1 in schools and others are meeting 1:1 in community buildings.
"Pupils speak with pride about their involvement in ‘WAM Youth’, a local initiative that mentors young people, challenges discrimination and insists that, ‘We All Matter’."
Ofsted Report, Winchcombe School - December 2018
In order for mentoring to be safe for both our mentors and the young people, we require some level of parental involvement in the mentoring process. Usually this involves a home visit from Ali, our project manager, where the young person and their parents can find out more about what we do and how it all works. From time to time, when meeting in a home is not possible, meeting up happens in another way, e.g. in a park, school or community venue, or via a video call. Parent/carers will need to complete and sign forms to give us the information we need to work safely with their children.
Once we’ve identified a mentor for the young person, the child and the parent/carer are asked if they are happy with the choice of mentor before anything gets set up.
Another meeting happens at the point where we introduce the mentor to the young person. We ask parents to be involved in this so they get to meet the mentor and have the opportunity to feel comfortable with them. We run through how mentoring will work, boundaries around the mentoring relationship and everyone can exchange contact details.
During the mentoring year, we ask mentors to keep in touch with parent/carers so they are ‘in the loop’ with when and where mentoring sessions are happening. Parent/carers of younger children often ask for all of the communication with their child to come via them, which is fine.
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, and in some of the Cotswold villages.
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.
What Does it Cost?
For the young person it costs nothing! We charge schools and agencies £1100 per year or £92 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 grants from Gloucestershire Community Foundation and Barnwood Trust however the waiting list for these places is currently 4-8 months.
In previous years our mentoring project has been supported financially by the GCC’s Thriving Communities Fund, 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?
I would just like to find out more about mentoring
I am from a school or other organisation and ready to make a Mentoring referral
I would like to apply to volunteer as a mentor
I would like to donate to enable a young person to receive WAM mentoring