One area of our work that we are really passionate about is mentoring young people who are struggling with issues that prevent them from having the same opportunities as others and put them at risk of exclusion from school, or involvement with anti-social behaviour. Mentoring helps vulnerable young people to improve their life skills, avoid educational failure and relate positively to their peers and communities, so is a positive practice that we really wanted to provide.
To help us do this, we partnered with youth charity, XLP, to provide a mentoring programme for young people who are struggling with some of these issues. XLP is a fantastic charity which promotes the practice of building sustainable relationships with young people, which develop trust and nurture the belief that things can change and an alternative future is possible.
We love this ethos, so in 2014, we became part of the XL-Mentoring National project and recruited and trained mentors to work with young people referred by local schools. This style of working with young people caught the eye of a number of influential figures, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. After previously visiting XLP in 2015, the royal couple decided to return to the project to find out more about the mentoring programme, and as XL-Mentoring National coordinators, we were invited to join them to hear from a number of mentors and mentees and listen to their incredible stories.
Mentoring might appear to be just a couple of hours a week talking to a young person, but it is incredible what an impact those short periods of time can have. It is so simple, yet highly effective.
Check out the video below for more information on the royal visit and the mentoring projects via the BBC News report.