Our Friendship Works service has been providing volunteer mentors to children and young adults who have experienced childhood trauma or disrupted attachments for over forty years. Young people with experiences like these often suffer from low self esteem and social isolation. They are at higher risk of drug and alcohol addiction or becoming involved in criminal activity and are less likely to achieve academically, whilst more likely to experience poor mental health in later life.
We match children and young adults with volunteer mentors who, through quality friendship, give young people access to new opportunities, helping to build their self confidence and develop the resilience needed to manage adversity now and in the future.
The service aims to:
Our model of mentoring aims to build a positive friendship between a young person and their mentor and has been proven to support the development of physical and emotional well being and resilience building.
For a young person to build effective and supportive relationships, it is important that contact is both frequent and long term. Research has shown that for young people, the most significant impact of a mentoring relationship occurs after 12 months. Therefore, we ask our volunteers to commit to meeting their young mentee on three weekends out of four, for at least two years.
The friendship is led by the needs and wants of the young person rather than by any externally set targets. In this way the young person is accepted for who they are, and within the safety of this knowledge can grow in confidence and feel safe enough look to their mentor for guidance and emotional support.
All our mentoring matches receive on-going support and supervision from our professional casework team, who are experienced in social care, education, child and adult mental health and youth offending.
We currently support children and young adults living in London. There is no typical young person we support as each are unique with varying needs, however all have experienced childhood trauma or disrupted attachments and would benefit from the support of an additional adult.