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Mentors making a difference to Doncaster children

Dozens of children and teenagers are on their way to realising their aspirations after being matched with a mentor.

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 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, with one 10-year-old saying that having a mentor was “Like having a wingman and a best mate.”

Another – a 13-year-old girl said having a mentor was “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.

Become a Trusted Mentor today! Visit call 01302 735721 or meet the team at Doncaster Pride on Saturday 17 August, as well as outside Tesco Extra in Balby all day on Friday 23 August.