Pembrokeshire Online CIC has been delighted to write about Point before, because the organisation has done sterling work with young people up to the age of 25 in the north of Pembrokeshire since 2001. Not least of their many projects is their Mentoring programme, which is entering the third year of its three-year run. Funded by Big Lottery as part of their Point Across Communities initiative, the final recruiting drive for new mentors is about to begin. On February 6th 2019 at 5.30pm, an opportunity awaits anyone interested in gathering information about taking part.
So far, eight people have undertaken the training and most have gone on to work in various ways with the young people. The mentors range from early thirties, to past retirement age, and come from all sorts of backgrounds.
I asked Jessica Palmer who is the Projects Coordinator to tell me what kind of people make good mentors?
“We welcome all applicants who are 26 or over and who want to make a difference to the lives of young people. The mentors who currently work with us have all sorts of skills. The most important of all being their own life experiences and their willingness to take on this exciting challenge. Ideally we are hoping for another 8 or more people to complete the next round of training.”
What sort of things do the mentors do?
“People have so far shared their skills and hobbies. They have also provided employability support (e.g. CV writing and job search); emotional support (listening, talking things through and signposting) and practical support (supporting to attend appointments – e.g. adult education). We would be happy to hear from anyone who has hobby or skill they feel they would like to share. We offer training and ongoing support for all mentors and mentees.”
What does the training involve?
“People should come on the 6th February to hear more, or they can phone and talk to myself or my colleagues. The mentor will need to complete an application form, provide references and they will be DBS checked. Matters of safeguarding and confidentiality are crucial naturally and play a big part in the training.”
Jessica tells me that the training itself consists of 4 whole days. There is a time commitment, once the mentor has been matched with a young person, of between 1 and 2 ½ hours per week. That involves travel of course, and supervision, which is an essential part of the role. Ideally, people will work together for at least 3 months if everyone is happy. Some will work together longer and they are delighted to have some who are still together after a year.
What kind of things will mentors do?
“It could be almost anything that supports the young person. It ranges from support in making life changing decisions, like leaving home, relationships, or what course of study to choose. Some of our young people are in care and need support to move into independence. Alternatively, a mentor could be sharing hobbies. We have mentors teaching gardening and violin. It can also be creating or developing C.V’s or supporting young people with appointments. Some mentors choose to work with more than one person. They can become involved in Drop-in sessions, or group sessions.”
There must be some process of matching mentors with the young people. How do you ensure you get that right?
“As part of my job I need to get to know everyone involved, so I can see who would make a good fit. We also arrange a get together for the trained mentors with the young people who have expressed an interest in being involved. Sometimes it’s an organic process, with people finding that they just gel. I have to say though that we don’t just leave it there. There is always a key worker involved so if any issues arise there is plenty of opportunity for both sides to resolve things quickly.”
Has the project been a success so far?
“We are really proud of what has been achieved so far, not least because of the new relationships that have been forged between different generations within the community. “
Jessica shares some of the feedback from mentors.
“….having association and time with a person of a different generation is a good opportunity to learn from each other.”
“It’s a real pleasure to work with someone that I would not have otherwise worked with.”
Others have commented that they have enjoyed…being part of a group,
and there is high praise from one, “The support that is available to young persons at POINT is outstanding and Mentors can be assured that there is a strategy of support and back-up from the team”.
What about Mentees?
Jessica shows me the mentees feedback.
“My mentor has been really easy to talk to and I have built a strong trust with her.”
“My confidence has grown”.
“My mentor gives support without judgement”.
“Because of some small changes that I talked through with my mentor, I am now sleeping better.”
“It is handy having someone to help me with some of the practical sides of volunteering, and great to chat to them at the same time”.
“It feels really comfortable talking to my mentor”.
“I can learn a lot from them [mentor]”.
To find out more , POINT will be holding an information evening
If you would like to learn from and share with young people, please call
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
send a message via the @POINTacrosscommunity Facebook page.
Going along to the information evening does not constitute a commitment to undertake the training, but if you are inspired to continue you will need to complete an application form.
Deadline for submission will be February 22nd 2019
Training is to take place in April and started to work as a mentor will hopefully begin in May.
Sounds like a truly worthwhile venture.