Elite athletes to mentor pupils

Dame Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes

Students at St David’s RC High School in Midlothian will receive transformational mentoring from world-class athletes, as part of an innovative new project to support young people facing disadvantage in isolated areas of England, Scotland and Wales.

Launched by Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, pupils from the Dalkeith school will participate in their “On Track to Achieve” programme and also help support vital research to truly understand the barriers that young people face to access support in these hard to reach areas.

The project was made possible following a significant extra award of £200,000 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Dame Kelly Holmes, founder and president of the trust set up in her name, said: “We believe that a young person’s life chances should not be determined by their postcode and are committed to finding new ways to engage with young people in isolated areas.

“Over 240 students will benefit directly from our athletes as part of this project. However, most importantly the research will help transform the lives of thousands more in the future who would otherwise experience difficulty in receiving support.”

“On Track to Achieve” uses world-class athletes to empower young people in full-time education to fulfil their potential.

The programme is targeted at students facing challenging personal circumstances or suffering from low levels 
of self-esteem and confidence.

Working in small groups of five to eight students, athlete mentors provide tailored support to enhance participants’ personal and social development, through the setting of individual goals and targets.

Young people also develop 
vital skills such as teamwork.

Head of Young Peoples Programmes at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Ben Hilton, said: “This is a really big step forward for us as a charity and will demonstrate our commitment to listen to the voices of young people.

“We’re looking forward to using this information to tailor our delivery in isolated 
areas.”

Head of charities for People’s Postcode Lottery, Clara Govier, added: “Players of People’s Postcode Lottery will be glad to know this programme is only possible thanks to the money they have raised. It will be exciting to see this develop and the journey of the young people involved.”

To date, People’s Postcode Lottery players have awarded Dame Kelly Holmes Trust more than £800,000.