Mentoring Plus train and support adult volunteers to mentor 7 – 21 year olds needing extra support with family, education, emotional needs and employability.

In just five years, the charity has grown from supporting 50 young people per year across Bath and North East Somerset to over 400. The young people they support are affected by multiple challenges at home and in education, including poverty, family breakdown and emotional difficulties.

In 2018, in recognition of their outstanding work over more than twenty years with some of Bath and North East Somerset’s most vulnerable children and young people, the charity was awarded a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and won ‘Charity of the Year’ at the Bath Life Awards.

St John’s first awarded funding to Mentoring Plus in 2013, and we have been proud supporters of their life-changing work ever since. With our support, the charity has grown to become one of the most well-respected providers of services for young people in the South West region.

Ruth Keily, Executive Director of Mentoring Plus, said:

“St John’s Foundation has provided transformational funding support to Mentoring Plus during its development: long term, well-informed, strategic, well-managed and focused on meeting actual needs to maximise our ability to deliver services to young people in our county facing significant challenges.

In just the last five years, St John’s has made it possible for Mentoring Plus to launch and pilot our primary mentoring programme, maintain our inspirational activities programme for mentees, bring in local experts to identify new opportunities for sustainable income, employ a lead practitioner for our flagship volunteer mentoring project and most recently to safeguard a popular open-access youth club at Riverside Youth Hub.

The breadth and variety of these funding streams point to why St John’s is so fundamental to the voluntary organisations of our city: with deep local knowledge and understanding and simple, efficient processes, they have the confidence to fund opportunities which more remote and limited grant givers won’t, and to provide strategic funding which helps organisations like us improve our practice, our efficiency, our staff development, our partnership capacity and our revenue generation. All of these are vital to the long-term support to our service users, helping to build a community which is fairer, more cohesive and able to find its own solutions.”

Here’s how Mentoring Plus has supported one young person to re-engage with education:

D, aged 14, came to Mentoring Plus affected by difficulties at home, mental wellbeing and struggles with school. She was reluctant at first to join in with a homework support group organised by older mentees, but it seemed to bring about a shift. A volunteer mentor worked with her on a piece of homework and she was proud of the result. D now keeps wall charts of school work in her bedroom, helps to organise activities for other young people at the charity, and has started to define herself differently: “I don’t really like homework but I want to make something of my life.”

Find out more about the incredible work of Mentoring Plus by visiting their website here.