In June we celebrated the amazing work of all of our dedicated volunteers as part of National Volunteers Week. This included sharing Mel and Ben’s story, two of the most recent recruits into our ‘Mentoring Gateway’ phone team; who alongside other volunteers and their paid team leader Mike have been working tirelessly to maintain much needed mental health support for young people during this crisis.
At the start of this year we had no idea that this support would turn out to be so vital for keeping in touch with those we support. Initially set up to keep in touch with those young people on the waiting list for a face to face mentor or for those too anxious to engage in an intensive support relationship the Mentoring Gateway has seen a huge increase in demand during the last 16 weeks.
In fact since March we have seen a 300% increase in the amount of time our team have spent on the phone and this doesn’t even include all the time that our other dedicated volunteers have been spending to keep in touch with their mentees on phone and video calls, or through text messaging.
Team leader Mike says “For many of the young people this is the only ‘proper’ conversation they are having with anyone outside their household each week. What started as a quick call to check the young person was ok, transformed to spending time talking through the lows and highs of the week, their overall mental health, and their fears for the future.”
As the rules are eased and government guidance changes we are looking forward to being able to involve more of our volunteers in delivering this service and therefore we will be able to talk to even more of the young people that need our help.
“Phone mentoring is such an amazing thing, to have somebody who listens, cares and helps me see things straight is incredible. It’s helping me build my confidence and reduce my anxiety” (Emilia 16)
If you would be interested in joining our team of volunteer mentors either to support young people over the phone or in person in the future click here to find out more