Youth Zone Calls for More Mentors on National Mentoring Day
Since opening in June 2013, the Youth Zone has prided itself on developing its offer for young members – always building on its core mission, to give young people ‘Somewhere to go, Something to do and Someone to talk to’.
Since its launch in Summer 2016, the mentoring scheme at Wigan Youth Zone has been offering targeted individual help to young members by providing them with one-to-one support from one of the Youth Zone’s team of mentoring volunteers.
After training and relevant checks, mentors are matched up with a particular youth zone member based on their unique skill set, experience and how they can best support that child’s particular needs. Each mentor is then asked to meet with the child at least once a week for a game of bowling or something to eat and a chat through their problems.
Youth Workers at the youth zone get to know members extremely well and as such can identify those who may need additional support, sometimes this can be with bullying at school, family problems, low self-esteem or risk-taking behaviour in some cases.
Mentoring at the Youth Zone has successfully matched 21 young people to mentors in the past 12 months and already it is proving to have a positive effect, all young people engaged in the scheme have so far reported an improvement in their emotional wellbeing, school attendance and positive attitude.
Jack* a young person who has been attending mentoring sessions at the Youth Zone has learnt a great deal about how to control emotions since joining the scheme and has enjoyed having someone there every week to talk to about his problems;
“After being a member at the Youth Zone for a few years, one of the staff spoke to me about the chance to have a mentor and whether it would be something I would be interested in. At first I was nervous but they were really nice to me. I see my mentor every single week and have learned a lot about being more open, talking about how I feel instead of shouting and being angry.”
“I have enjoyed some fun things with my mentor as well as having someone to talk to including cooking and a trip to a museum! I want to be a mentor when I’m older, to help kids like me.”
Lorna* who volunteers as a mentor at the Youth Zone has loved giving back to young people and being a positive role model;
“When I was younger things weren’t very good for me; however I had neighbours that always looked after me and ensured I didn’t go without. I had no experience with working with young people prior to mentoring but I knew I wanted to support a young person who needed it – the same way I was supported as a child’.
“The training I received was brilliant and made me feel relaxed about working with young people. It gave me a clear understanding of boundaries and how to keep the young person at the centre of what I was doing.”
“The Mentoring Coordinator spent time with both myself and the young person I would be mentoring before we met, to see what we were both interested in and find out about our personalities. We then arranged a meeting with me, the young person and the Coordinator to introduce us to each other slowly and in familiar environment.”
“I have lots of support whilst volunteering as a mentor with weekly contact with the from the Youth zone and supervision every six weeks, where I can share worries or talk about any training I may benefit from.”
“My advice to anyone considering becoming a mentor would be to just do it! That two hours a week can be life-changing for a young person, is there a bigger incentive than that?!”
Wigan Youth Zone is looking for more willing mentors to volunteer a few hours of their time every week and support 8 – 16 year olds with improving their self-worth and positive decision-making. The Youth Zone welcomes mentors from all walks of life and you don’t need to have experience working with children, just a willingness to undertake training, a DBS check and have the commitment to support young people and be a positive role model.
*Mentor and young person’s names changed for safeguarding reasons.
To find out more about becoming a mentor and supporting young people right here in Wigan, contact Genna Banks, Mentoring Coordinator at Wigan Youth Zone on 01942 612 061 or go to www.wiganyouthzone.org and fill out our enquiry form.