May 11, 2017|
Foundation has a passionate commitment to supporting their customers into volunteering activities. This aids their employment skills and social inclusion – giving opportunities to meet new people and build confidence in new environments. Customer volunteering is incredibly powerful when it can be used to support other customers. Peer mentoring is being introduced to customers in the North Yorkshire Young People’s Pathway, giving them opportunities for personal development and to give support to others drawing on their own personal experience.
Kate Bryan became the North Yorkshire Young People’s Pathway Volunteer Coordinator in November 2016 after having worked as a Support Worker with Foundation for 4 years. Kate developed a peer mentoring scheme for pathway customers so they could develop themselves further and use the experience to move towards future employment or education. The pathway scheme in North Yorkshire is a service to support our young people into becoming independent and accountable for their future, the peer mentoring scheme compliments this and eases the young person into moving forward in a positive direction. There are challenges for the scheme. The reality on the ground is that whilst the scheme is part of a ‘pathway’ program, some of the customers referred into the NYYPP have very complex needs. For Kate, her priority is to work hand in hand with Support Workers to identify which customers that are ready for Peer Mentoring and for those who may not be, to understand how peer mentoring can help support their needs.
One of the Peer Mentor’s in North Yorkshire, Ethan, has agreed to share his story:
I moved from Nottingham to Scarborough with my parents, I feel it was a good move as in Nottingham I couldn’t be myself and felt that I had to constantly prove myself to people instead of them accepting me for who I am. This made me frustrated and sometimes angry and effected my friendships. When I moved to Scarborough I felt settled for the first time in my life and I was able to choose who I wanted to be friends with.
My Mum and Dad split up soon after moving to Scarborough and I found myself homeless due to my Mum kicking me out and I was unable to stay with my Dad as there wasn’t enough room. I moved into Foundation and they really helped me get used to living on my own preparing me to move into my own flat.
I was asked if I would like to become a Peer Mentor for Foundation and began the training. I have really enjoyed this as it has given me a bit more confidence in myself and with others, I also feel more self-aware. I love helping people and being in a position to help.
The peer mentoring scheme is still in its development stages, but the service has high ambitions for the program. We look forward to hearing more from the team and their customers. To find out more about the scheme please contact Kate.Bryan@foundationuk.org
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