8 Apr 2008

A friend in need

08 April 2008

'Having a mentor helped me in a lot of ways because before I was shy and didn't find it easy to talk to people, I always kept quiet. But she gave me more confidence and helped me to know more places. I learnt a lot from her.'
Konye, aged 14

The Children's Society believes that every child deserves a good childhood, which is why we have developed a unique mentoring initiative. It's a new programme, set up to provide adult support and guidance for children and young people across the UK.

The initiative is currently in its pilot phase, with projects being developed in Greenwich, Manchester and the Diocese of London. It aims to help young people struggling with a wide range of issues; such as low confidence and self-esteem, being a young carer, difficulties with schoolwork, being bullied or bullying, or children with high truancy rates. The aims of each young person and the skills and interests of each mentor are carefully matched.

The benefits of mentoring are well documented. Research into mentoring has shown that young people who have a mentor are less likely to play truant from school, use illegal drugs and are more likely to get along with their families and peers. Mentors play a critical role in supporting and guiding a child or young person, and are a non-authoritarian, non-judgemental adult in a young person's life.

Mentoring has been proven to give children and young people the boost they need to achieve their goals, find their path and deal with life’s challenges. It also helps children to improve their confidence with their schoolwork. Young people looking for work benefit from the support of a mentor when they search for jobs; write their CV, make job applications, study for work-based vocational qualifications and plan their finances.

'My mentor helped me with my schoolwork because I was struggling and it was difficult to talk to tutors at college. She also helped build my confidence and through her I got my first work experience.'
Brandina, aged 16

Mentoring isn't just beneficial to children and young people, mentors often gain a lot from the experience as well, as mentor Andrew’s story illustrates.

More information

You can find out more about our mentoring initiative by downloading our Mentors' information handbook or call us on 020 7358 2006 for further details and how to apply. Please note: you must be over 18 years of age to be eligible to apply for a voluntary mentor position as part of The Children's Society's mentoring initiative.

You can also find out more by visiting The Children's Society mentoring initiative web pages.

Our new mentoring initiative is partly based on the US mentoring scheme Big Brothers Big Sisters