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“Hardly anyone can ever find God because God is right at the end of your mind after all the background thoughts are gone.”
Maisie Satchwell-Hust
 

Lichfield Christian Schools Work Trust

Engage! Youth Mentoring


Engage! Youth Mentoring is run under the umbrella of the Christian charity LCSWT. Our work is very much based on Christian values but Engage! is faith based, not biased and not all of our mentors are necessarily church-goers.  This, in turn, has afforded us a good reputation amongst schools and local services. 

Our goal is to provide young people, who are struggling with low self-esteem, a positive adult role model in the form of a school-based mentor.

Through this holistic one-to-one relationship, they are encouraged to talk things through on regular basis and work towards goals that are set together. 

We frequently see improvements in the following areas: Confidence, engagement with school, coping mechanisms, self-acceptance and aspirations. 
 
We are referred children from primary school age right up until sixth form.  Referrals are currently exclusively made in school through the Student Support staff or SENCo. 
 
Ultimately we aim to instil a sense of self-worth in a child or young person through the mentoring relationship. A long term mentor offers a child commitment, continuity and provides a healthy context in which self-esteem can grow naturally.   
 
As for many, this has been a challenging year.  For the mentoring project it has meant that, despite our best intentions, for a big part of 2020 and now into 2021 there has been limited contact with schools and students.  For the autumn term, at least, we were back in business and interest in the project has not diminished.  Looking ahead into 2021, we are in a good position to be ready to go again at the earliest opportunity!

 

OUR PROGRESS:
 
COVID-19 considerably disrupted the latter part of the academic year (Sept 19-July ’20).  Despite this, there was still an increase from the last academic year both in terms of mentor numbers and students being seen. 30 mentors in total volunteered in various Lichfield schools over the academic year ending in July.  As a result, over 120 students were seen on a one-to-one basis throughout the year as we were allowed onsite.  Some testimonials are below:
  
"I wanted to pass on my thanks to you for identifying Laura as a suitable mentor for [student].  It has been great for her to talk through her difficulties and share experiences with Laura. She is now really well and her condition is under control”
Feb 2020 LE, SENCo Assistant, Friary School
 

"Just before school closes for the foreseeable future I just want to thank you for facilitating the contact with David (student's mentor); hopefully they'll be able to reunite at some point but who knows. However, David has truly had an immeasurable impact on his self-esteem and ability to cope with stress. We were discussing whether he would see David today and he said that he hoped David stayed at home and stayed safe; that he now felt able to cope in the short term with the contacts inevitable lack of contact with David. He feels that David has given him strategies that really help and wanted me to strongly express how grateful he is to David. Considering the position we find ourselves in as regards the pandemic and GCSE chaos, he has remained calm and rational...we can hardly believe it!
March 2020, Parent of Friary student via LE, Friary school


“They really do make such a difference to the students as, even with the best will in the world, the pastoral team are not always able to guarantee some allocated time.” 
(Speaking about the mentors) ​Oct 23 2020, CB Pastoral team, Netherstowe

 

WHAT WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE:
 
Our main objective thus far has been expansion in terms of volunteers and participating schools or partners.  This has resulted in more volunteers coming forward and additional partners getting involved including an additional primary school and the PRU pupil referral unit in Lichfield who took a volunteer recently.
 
The past academic year also provided an opportunity to test out our new training course on the new volunteers.  This has been a considerable improvement on the previous training resources.
 
Current objectives for 2021-2022 include:

Expanding our leadership so that the project is not solely dependent on one worker. 
  • Consolidate working practices within school
  • Continue to recruit, train and place volunteers within school; we have a specific target of 8 new mentors for this academic year (Sept 2020-July 2021)
  • Increase support for our least supported age group – Age 16+
 
 
 
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“Building relationships and seeing the students adopt a new positive attitude has been very rewarding for me”
Mentor Friary, DU Dec 16 2020
 
“Mentoring is my favourite afternoon of the week!”
Mentor (JT) Netherstowe, Dec 2020
 
 
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WHAT WE NEED:

Our main need is volunteer mentors for schools!  The request for mentors by local schools outweighs our ability to provide them.  Schools, CAMHS and Local Support Teams all see the value of early intervention as key to addressing issues before a response needs to be escalated.  Mentoring effectively addresses some of these early issues, eliminating the need to refer children to overwhelmed professional agencies.
 
We also need wisdom to consolidate our methods and interactions within school so we remain a blessing and not a burden for overwhelmed staff.  Dealing with onsite volunteers adds extra challenges to staff with big workloads despite the obvious benefits that volunteers bring.
 

For more information please see: 

www.lcswt.co.uk
www.facebook.com/EngageYouthMentoring