Thurrock’s group mentoring project, building on V&V funded work from 2019, delivered a successful group mentoring project in summer 2020 run by mentors within the Youth and Outdoor Education Team of Inspire. (Thurrock Council Youth Service).
Using an outdoor education setting as the backdrop, the project worked with a group of young people who were associating with gang culture, displaying anti-social behaviours, or were experiencing anxiety and stress related issues relating to Covid-19.
The project focused on self-care, challenging the young people to try new experiences through positive activities in order to increase self-confidence, build resilience and maintain better physical and mental health. By using these new experiences, the group explored consequences, learnt how to make informed decisions, increase their skills and abilities and have support in making positive choices.
The young people found they were able to share how they feel about their daily life, their struggles, and then look at options to find a positive way to change their behaviour and channel this into a focussed outcome.
All of the activities the young people participated in provide a pathway or route into clubs or relevant support services, including one to one mentoring.
The programme was well received, with one of the schools (which the young people attend) requesting the mentoring service to be delivered in school. The school support staff noted the positive impact of the project on their students and the opportunity to build on the programme.
A parent commented: “My son now has something positive to focus on and get involved with, because he has a lot of issues in his area, and he gets involved with the wrong crowd.”