A Mentoring Project designed to guide and inspire vulnerable local children has been launched by Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
With the initial support of seven volunteer mentors, the Foundation has invested more than £7,000 to set up the project with the support of commercial property specialists Python Properties.
It was the idea of Martin Johnson and Peter Broome of Python Properties to launch the mentoring scheme after they saw a similar project making a hugely positive impact on children in the Bolton area.
Initially working with charity Grandparents Plus and local schools, the project is now supporting five local children who are struggling to overcome challenges in their young lives as a result of their parents being unable to care for them.
Aged six to 11, the kinship children, who are currently being cared for by their grandparents, live in Middlesbrough, Billingham and Norton.
The Foundation’s mentoring manager Jenny Williams has recruited seven volunteer mentors, who undertook training before agreeing to give up an hour of their time each week to meet their matched young person
Over the course of 12 months, they’ll spend their time chatting and listening to the children, taking part in fun activities and helping to guide them through challenges they have as a result of their difficult family circumstances.
The Foundation is delighted that Jayne Stephenson, Dave Nicholson, Nica Atkins, Jo-Ann Swinnerton, Sandra Johnson, Anne Francis and Calvin Conradie have kindly agreed to give up their own spare time to support the children as mentors.
As our pictures show, they recently met up with some of the children at Jo-Ann’s Middlesbrough FC workplace.
One mentor said: “I feel good at the thought of trying to help, but also a little nervous. I really do hope I can make a positive impact in the life of the child I’m mentoring.
“I hope that we could both benefit from the project. I think I’ll find it rewarding and hopefully I can give my child the extra support, comfort and fun she will need to help her through this difficult time.”
Another mentor added: “I’ve been looking to volunteer for some time and what better way, helping younger people to reach their full potential.
“The mentoring scheme will work wonders within the Teesside area. I think it’s a great opportunity for people in the area to give up an hour a week of their time to help young people who could benefit from role models.”
It is mentoring manager Jenny’s role to guide the relationships, set goals and organise group events, whilst also attending safeguarding meetings.
Jenny said: “Each child is unique and has their own history. Some are dealing with repressed memories while some are fearful of the future. We’re here to help guide and mentor them for the next year of their lives.
“We’re grateful to Martin and Peter of Python Properties not only for their ongoing support of the Mentoring Project but for coming to us with the idea in the first place, having seen a similar scheme in action in Bolton.