What made you think about volunteering in the first place?

At the time I was working for the Council and was very interested in Looked After Children and what support they were or weren’t receiving.

Why did you choose to volunteer at BLGC?

BLGC set up a Mentoring Scheme with the Council to encourage Council Workers to mentor Looked After Children as part of their Corporate Parenting responsibility and I got involved and have really enjoyed it – and hopefully the young people have too.

How did the training help you with your role?

It was really useful. There are lots of issues that come up at the training that you don’t know about and it’s really useful to get some of that support from the trainers and also other volunteers.

What support do you get from us?

I meet up with the Co-ordinator on a regular basis. We meet up to see how I am getting on, what support I need and what other information I need. In between I get phone calls and you can go to the mentee activities. We’ve done all sorts; bowling, Halloween parties, arts and craft activities, sporty activities – all sorts of things.

What do you think your young person gets out of having a mentor?

My mentee is very anxious so I have been helping her with her anxiety. She has a fear of new places so I work with her on going to new places in a way she feels safe and comfortable with. We talk about things that have happened in school and how she can approach different problems. She knows I am there for her and knows I won’t let her down.
When you are in care there are a lot of people who have let you down, so I think to have somebody there on a regular basis has helped. I think she enjoys the new experiences we have shared – we have fun.

She has also fallen behind in school with reading so we try and do some reading each meeting for five minutes or so. We have gone to the library to choose a book and she has started to enjoy it.

What do you get out of being a Mentor?

You feel like you are giving something back and I feel it keeps your feet on the ground. My mentee has been through so much within her little life and I feel I can give something back and help – that is my reward really.

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a Mentor?

It’s a real lot of fun. You can really help somebody but you get a lot out of it as well. You have to do some researching of things to do – but when you get going its easier – and you get so much out of it.