Wolverhampton Improving Futures, the newest of our social franchises, has received four years funding from The Big Lottery.
Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council (WVSC) is leading a partnership of five locally based organisations to deliver the programme. The partners are:
These local organisations have vast experience of working together to meet the diverse needs and requirements of children and families living in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. Each partner brings different yet complementary experiences and skills. All are designed to ensure that the programme benefits children and their families in need of additional help and support, as part of a broader early intervention strategy. The partnership is delivering Chance UK’s early intervention mentoring programme for 5-11 year-olds. The impact of the programme in the area has already proven to be significant.
When Tammy started the mentoring mum reported that she had low self esteem, was self harming (bruising herself and pulling her hair out), and had stopped eating. She struggled to make friends and would avoid other children and became upset easily.
School reported that Tammy was over dependant on adults in school; she was isolated and needed to build links with her peers. Tammy would prefer to spend her lunch time with the staff in reception than go outside to play with the other children. There were concerns about her eating because she was hiding her lunch.
Tammy started her mentoring in September 2012. She was matched with a mentor, Lisa. Lisa was 21 years old and was completing her final year at university.
Tammy & Lisa had their mentoring session weekly for 12 months. Their sessions included; arts and crafts, swimming, cinema, bowling, art club, playing in the snow, visiting an art gallery, museums, the park, completing race for life and a visit to the natural history museum.
After 3 months of mentoring there was a noticeable change in Tammy’s confidence levels. When Tammy first joined the mentoring programme she was very shy and nervous, looking to mum for the answers to any questions. At the 3 month review meeting Tammy was lively and confident. She was able to direct the review – reading out questions and Lisa choosing who was most appropriate to provide answers (between mum and Lisa).
By the end of the 12 month mentoring programme Tammy was able to stand up in front of an audience of 50+ people to receive her graduation certificate. She also spoke confidently on video about her mentoring experience – encouraging other children to “try and get Lisa as your mentor”. School also commented on the noticeable difference in Tammy’s educational outcomes and confidence in class.
In recognition of her commitment to mentoring Lisa was awarded a volunteering awarded at her University graduation this year. Lisa continues to support Improving Futures – offering support for new mentors – she has also recently secured a post graduate place to continue her academic studies and train as a teacher.
We’re looking for all types of people who are interested in volunteering to mentor a child. Find out more about becoming a mentor or apply.
If you’re a professional in the Wolverhampton area and would like to know more about the project or make a referral please contact Mandy on 01902 328977 or ASmith@wolverhamptonvsc.org.uk