11 Sep 2009

SOVA and The Children’s Society have been jointly appointed by Birmingham City Council to deliver a new mentoring service for young adults in the city.

The Birmingham Integrated Mentoring Service, aimed at 16 to 18 year olds, will provide support and advice for both young people in care and unaccompanied asylum seeking children who are moving into independent living accommodation.

The team will work with agencies such as the care leavers service, connexions and Birmingham City Council social services, to identify young people in need of support and then match them with a trained mentor. The mentor will not only help with the practical implications of independent living but also help to improve their mentee’s confidence and give them the skills to integrate into the local community.

Sophie Wilson, operations director for SOVA, said: “I am thrilled to be working with The Children’s Society to deliver such an important mentoring service for Birmingham. There are currently around 778 young adults in care in Birmingham and 800 unaccompanied asylum seeking children, it is important that they are given the skills to move forward and achieve things in life and helping them to live independently is the first step.”

Simon Cottingham, Programme Manager, The Children's Society's Children at Risk on the Streets Project, Birmingham, added: “This is such an important service for the young adults of Birmingham. We have high targets to meet for this service including increasing the amount of care leavers who go on to further training, education or gain employment. With the help of the fantastic volunteers I believe that we can make a big difference to the lives of the people accessing this service.

SOVA, the organisation that provides support to socially excluded and disadvantaged people, is working with leading national charity The Children’s Society to create a team of five staff who will oversee the project including training volunteers and matching them with appropriate mentees. The service will be based at Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter.

Birmingham Integrated Mentoring Service needs volunteers to work with young adults across the city, anyone interested in volunteering or who would like to find out more should contact Chris Benfield on 0121 2363968.


For further press information please contact Rafi Cooper, Media Officer, The Children's Society. rafi.cooper@childsoc.org.uk. 020 7841 4526.

The Children's Society
The Children’s Society is a leading children’s charity committed to making childhood better for all children in the UK; To that end we provide vital help and understanding for those children who face the greatest danger, discrimination or disadvantage; children who are unable to find the support they need anywhere else.

SOVA – was set up in 1975. It is the leading national voluntary organisation for recruiting, training and managing volunteer mentors to work to promote social inclusion and within the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales.

SOVA believes that long term solutions to disadvantage and crime lie within local communities and SOVA encourages and enables individuals from local communities to volunteer.