Ali Hart, Case Holder at PROMISEworks talks about the local charity making a big difference in Somerset by offering mentoring services to disadvantaged children and young people across the county. Thanks to our generous donors, since 2014 the group has received over £275,000 in grants from SCF.
“We make a simple promise to our young people: to provide a positive and stable relationship with a trained adult mentor who will be with them for at least two years.
Having started our mentoring service in mid-2017, PROMISEworks is now supporting over 110 mentoring relationships with children and young people between the ages of 5 – 25, however since the pandemic we now have over 200 on our waiting list.
Many of these children have chaotic home lives or have suffered traumatic experiences. Others may be caring for their parents in complex situations or struggling with the effects of bereavement. Several may have left care or on the edge of the care system.
Our volunteer mentors do simple things. They commit to meeting their young friend for a few hours every week or so, for a coffee or maybe a walk. As trust builds, our volunteers can find themselves supporting their young person in a variety of ways. This can often be with things that many would take for granted, such as attending a parents’ evening, helping with college applications or preparing for and attending interviews. They might support the young person to engage positively with local organisations such as a sports club, helping them to feel a sense of belonging within their community. All this takes time, which is why our mentors make a minimum 2-year commitment to the young person they are matched with.
Each relationship is unique. Our volunteers focus on strengths rather than emphasising weaknesses.
We work closely with our referring agencies such as Children’s Social Care, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, as well as schools and colleges. Our volunteer mentors are carefully recruited, trained and given around the clock support by our experienced staff. Working together, through this long-term, trusting relationship, the PROMISEworks team help children to gradually gain the skills and confidence needed to face their own challenges, helping them to develop the resilience, self-esteem and emotional well-being that will help them to build their own ‘life that works’.
This can mean the difference between a young person remaining in education instead of disengaging or staying with their family instead of going into care.”