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25th May, 2022

Mentor boost to help more young people in Stratford

A CHARITY has welcomed a team of new mentors to help young people in Stratford.

LifeSpace, which supports young people’s wellbeing with one-to-one mentoring, group activities and leadership opportunities, has welcomed ten volunteers who are being trained ready to offer support to children and young people across south Warwickshire.

The team includes a mentor funded by family-run Stratford business, Loxleys Restaurant, which pledged support to Lifespace as part of a commitment to help the community.

Lifespace works with people aged seven to 19 to help build their self-esteem, resilience and confidence.

Its work comes as young people’s mental health continues to be a cause for concern, both locally and nationally, with figures showing half of mental health issues are established by the age of 14 and 75 per cent by age 24.

In an average classroom of 30 15 year-olds, ten were likely to have watched their parents separate, seven likely to have been bullied, six may be self-harming and one had experienced the death of a parent.

Lifespace runs programmes in schools across south Warwickshire, as well as working individually with families, children and young people and other agencies. It is also set to launch a community-based mentoring programme with creative wellbeing charity Escape Arts.

The charity’s latest recruits bring skills, compassion and life experience to the team of 14 part-time staff and 30 volunteers.

Its new mentors will support young people on a one-to-one basis in schools, in the community and online.

One of those mentor roles is being funded for a year by Loxleys, which is also funding a six-week workshop to help eight young people from the area.

Bobby Sira, who has been funded by Loxleys, said: “I previously experienced the fulfillment of being able to help young people and inspire them to build their resilience, self-esteem and confidence, so I decided I want to do something more to give back and take time to help others with some of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained through life and work.”

Lifespace CEO Rachel Key added: “Our work is based on what young people tell us they need – someone they trust, who will listen, won’t judge and will encourage them to find their own answers to the challenges they face. Our mentors proved how important this is during the pandemic, staying connected with young people when they needed them most, and continuing to support them now they’re back in school.

“More mentors means that we can offer young people more ways to connect with us, as soon as life gets tough and for as long as they need it. We’re grateful both to our volunteers and to Loxleys for choosing us as their nominated local charity and funding one of our mentors for a whole year.”

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