Mentoring – The why the what and the how

Over the last twelve months, our mentoring service has been there for young people across the Wandsworth Borough. We’ve mentored 108 young people so far this year, and 96% of them have shown improvement. As a charity supporting young people in Roehampton, Putney, and the surrounding areas, this improvement was extremely encouraging for the team because it demonstrates the positive impact that mentoring has on young people, and the importance of the service.

With Christmas and the end of 2023 approaching, we are reflecting on how mentoring has developed over the past year, and what need there continues to be in our community.

If you are able, please support the service here, and change 170 lives with us in 2024!

Why Mentoring?

According to the Wandsworth Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (2021), the proportion of secondary school pupils with substantial emotional, social and mental health needs in the borough was 4 per 100 children, which was the 2nd highest in the whole of London.

This data reflects our own understanding and experience. We regularly find that due to the challenges they have faced, the young people we work with need additional support to develop executive functioning skills, such as confidence, social skills, time management and ability to plan. Lack of these ‘soft skills’ has been emphasised as being the main barrier for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

At Regenerate, we recognise this, and see that the need is only growing. For Christmas this year, we want to be able to give more vulnerable local young people the gift of a mentor, to help them build these skills and thrive. We are asking those who are able, to consider giving their Christmas charity gift to Regenerate.

This year, every donation will be match funded too, which means just £25 will become £50, and will fund one mentoring session! Please donate here.

But what exactly is mentoring and how do we do it?

Bespoke mentoring plans are created collaboratively based on the young person’s individual needs. A typical session could include utilising simple planning and reflection tools; exploring and regulating emotions through sport or art; trying new ways to create and maintain a routine; or just going for a coffee in the community and interacting with others, as a way to improve confidence and social skills.

Interweaved into this are also occasional trips out. For example, this year, our mentors took mentees into central London to see the sights, to exhibitions they were interested in, to the theatre, and to do activities they wanted to try. These experiences are not just a treat, but are an essential part of development that many don’t usually get the opportunity to do.

All Regenerate mentors are trained in and utilise a trauma informed and executive functioning approach, and then they utilise their individual skills and experience to build their sessions around this. However, the most important thing our mentors provide is a consistent and trusted space for young people to talk and be heard. Through this, young people feel safe and cared for, and are empowered in their personal development as a result.

The young people we work with come from many different backgrounds. They may struggle with a range of complex issues, such as behavioural issues, exclusion, social, or mental health related issues. Often, they don’t have a stable support system around them, making the support they receive from our mentors invaluable, even if that’s just a trusted person to vent to.


2023 and the vision for the future

In 2023, we created a partnership with one new school, after having redefined the Mentoring and Coaching service back in 2022. This reshape allowed us to work more collaboratively with local schools, and better support the most vulnerable young people in Wandsworth.

We are now working within three local secondary schools where our 5 youth mentors are based within the school for one day a week. This approach has been extremely positive. It has allowed our youth mentors to have an established presence within the schools, supporting the development of relationships with young people, teachers, and parents.

We also secured a partnership with the Wandsworth Youth Justice Service, to deliver what we call the ‘Turnaround’ project. Through this, we mentor young people issued with community resolution orders, supporting them to connect with more positive life choices that lead them away from crime.

This new structure has allowed us to lengthen our reach in Wandsworth, and mentor the young people who need it most in our community. We have mentored 108 young people with a high success rate, and in 2024 we aim to reach 170 local young people by increasing partnerships and growing the team.

The problem is, providing mentoring can be a challenge. We need fully trained and dedicated mentors, as well as the resources that we use to deliver sessions. Without the support of generous people, who want to make a difference in their community by supporting a local charity, we wouldn’t be able to do it.

If you can donate, please click here to support us in providing this service to local young people. And don’t forget that your gift this Christmas will be doubled by our match funding partner too!

Thank you for changing lives this Christmas.