Midlothian Matters - It all adds up for PlusOne project

Youngsters get involved in the PlusOne mentoring programme at Penicuik YMCA/YWCA
Youngsters get involved in the PlusOne mentoring programme at Penicuik YMCA/YWCA

Jack, aged ten, has struggled to make progress at school recently and with the impact of a chaotic family background.

Increasingly, Jack is turning to vandalism as an outlet. Without support from someone who can provide regular support, Jack’s position may deteriorate. Jack’s story is exactly the sort of case that the PlusOne mentoring programme aims to address. Run from Penicuik YMCA-YWCA, it is aimed to divert young people away from crime and disruption through support and engagement from local mentors.

Although the PlusOne mentoring programme has only been running for a year in Midlothian, it has already helped turn around the lives of many young people and provided some amazing volunteering opportunities for many caring adults. The programme has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Midlothian Council and NHS Lothian and seeks to use the skills and life experience of local volunteer mentors to engage with eight to 14-year-olds across Scotland within their own communities.

Six young people have completed a year of mentoring and there are 19 mentor matches in place, but we need more mentors to come forward. There are 18 young people who have been referred to the scheme who have yet to be matched up with a mentor.

So what role does a mentor play? Mentors commit to their role for a year to enable them to build a relationship with their young person. Mentors are asked to commit to regularly meeting their matched mentee and are given a small sum of money to support activities. All mentors are given support and training from the dedicated PlusOne manager to ensure that they can give the young people as much support as possible.

Mentoring is hugely rewarding.We have heard some transformational tales not just from the mentees, but from the mentors themselves, who have learned new skills, developed relationships and transformed lives. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds. If you think that you can help transform the life of a child like Jack, why not contact us?