With nearly 170 York children and young people currently on the waiting list for a volunteer mentor, local children’s charity, The Island urgently needs to recruit more volunteer mentors who will be able to support a vulnerable young person over a 12 month period.

The one-to-one mentoring programme has high success levels in transforming children’s confidence, self-esteem and resilience levels which involves weekly one to one sessions where through play, the volunteer mentor can support the young person to make positive change within their lives.

Under normal circumstances, the young mentees participate in group-based mentoring activities until a one-to-one mentor can be allocated, which begins the process of enhancing the child’s overall health and wellbeing. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the group-based mentoring activities are on-hold with no official date of when they can resume.

As a result, the charity now urgently needs to recruit more volunteer mentors than ever before to reduce the waiting list significantly.

Emma Thompson, Manager of Mentoring Services, says:

“currently 45% of our referrals are from the Acomb area who are struggling with their mental, emotional and/or social wellbeing. Mentoring provides vulnerable children with the opportunity with some time and space away from the chaos so that with the assistance of their mentor they can work through their challenges and build a better life for themselves.

Since becoming a registered charity in 2008, The Island has enhanced the quality of life of over 3,000 vulnerable York children. Many ex-mentees have gone onto excelling in the school environment, pursuing higher education, successfully obtaining and completing apprenticeships as well as setting up their own businesses. One ex-mentee who still works closely with The Island today, says “without The Island I would definitely be ‘off the rails’ involved in crime, anti-social behaviour… possibly dead. Thanks to The Island my life has been transformed”.

Mentoring at The Island is a 12-month flexible commitment and no experience is required as full training will be provided.

Emma ends “Having been a volunteer mentor myself, I was inspired to go into youth work because I was keen to support the next generation. Personally, mentoring has helped me in terms of professional development and increased my confidence, but ultimately, I get a lot of satisfaction of seeing how far my mentees have changed during the time we spend together. COVID has had an impact on the work we do to support young people and our services are going to be in high demand when we reopen our services for new referrals, however, currently we cannot do this until we recruit more volunteers to support those currently on our waiting list.”

To find out more about mentoring and how you can make a difference in a child’s life, visit: https://www.theislandyork.org/work-with-us