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Mentors making a difference to Doncaster children

Dozens of children and teenagers are on their way to realising their aspirations and reaching their full potential after being matched with a mentor. Do you think you have the skills to become a mentor and help other children reach their goals?

The Trusted Mentors scheme, run by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, is looking for more volunteers so they can help up to 300 youngsters who may benefit from having some independent adult support.

Since launching in January, with funding through the Department for Education’s Doncaster Opportunity Area Programme, the scheme has enlisted over 100 volunteers – 93 of whom have already completed the full day of training and have taken on the mentor mantle.

The Trust delivers social care and support services to children, young people and families in Doncaster on behalf of Doncaster Council. We believe that every child and young person in the borough deserves the best start in life and support when they need it to reach their full potential. We will support children and young people of
all backgrounds, races, disabilities and cultures who need support in the borough at times of need or crisis in their lives.

The aim is for the mentors to support the young people to get involved in positive activities towards achieving their aspirations. This in turn will make them happier and more confident and have a positive effect on their school work.

Students aged between 9 and 18 from schools across the borough will be part of the scheme.

A 10-year-old part of the scheme said that having a mentor was “like having a wingman and a best mate.”

Another – a 13-year-old girl added that the mentor made them feel “like having a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

One of the team of mentor co-ordinators, Julie Renshaw, says she herself would have benefitted from the scheme. She wanted to be a professional chef but was told by her home economics teacher that she wasn’t good enough.

“I left school and had no ambitions in life after having my dream crushed,” said Julie. “I drifted but, if I had had someone to encourage me I may have continued trying to pursue my dream – maybe I would have continued working hard to turn things around and still go for it.”

Cheryl Blackett, Project Manager, said the scheme was looking for people from all backgrounds – both men and women – and with all sorts of skills to offer.

“Currently, 80% of our volunteers are women but we have children and young people with a wide range of interests, including sports, science, arts, music, technology, nature and outdoor activities – even one young man who is particularly interested in maths!”

Mentors must be 18 or over, have two hours a month to give to supporting a child or young person and commit to supporting them for two years. All volunteers are DBS checked, which is arranged by the Trust.

So if you are interested in becoming a Trusted Mentor, why not visit www.trustmentor.co.uk or call 01302 735721 for more information.

Furthermore, why not come and meet the team at Doncaster Pride on Saturday 17 August, as well as outside Tesco Extra in Balby all day on Friday 23 August.

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