We speak to Glenn Jones, one of our Mentors
What is your volunteering role in BLGC?
I am a Volunteer Mentor. I am matched with a young person of Bolton who needed additional support and guidance from an adult not currently in their life.
How did you first hear of Bolton Lads & Girls Club?
A relative was mentoring at that time and obviously found it stimulating and rewarding and then I saw a recruitment message from BLGC and decided it was an opportunity to do something completely different from my day to day commercial life ..and yes, the old cliché…wanted to give something back!
What is your normal volunteering session like?
Typically, I would spend 2-3 hours a week with my mentee – usually evenings in midweek – time when my wife is glad to get me out from under her feet! He lives in the village where I was brought up which is just 15 minutes from my current home so travelling time isn’t an issue. I have a meeting with my coordinator for a couple of hours every 2-3 months and that’s about the limit of the time spent.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with BLGC?
A great aspect in the club is the desire of the team and volunteers to put “inclusion” high on the priority list – mainly to help everyone feel at home but this can also manifest itself in some spectacular ways. Watching a wheelchair bound youngster helping and “bossing” other kids on the climbing wall or a bunch of young boys in the gym with no common language develop a simple one of their own to be able to communicate and support each other are powerful reminders of the resourcefulness of our young people.
What support do you get from the club?
I am supported by a mentoring co-ordinator who I meet regularly and who is never more than a phone call away. She is brilliant at what she does and always has time for me despite a heavy workload of her own. If I’m not certain about how to handle a simple issue, she has a wealth of experience to call upon to advise me. If I have more complex concerns from a child protection point of view she will handle it with a very professional approach and ensure that other support services are updated appropriately.
Why did you decide to donate your time to the club?
I was an empty nester…dad of two incredible kids that I am very proud of, but as they moved on to live their own lives it left a big gap. Just how would I fill all those hours previously spent being “DADCABS” main employee!
What has been your most rewarding experience?
The most rewarding thing is the simple fact that you can make small differences that may help positively shape a youngster’s future.
Why should other people get involved with the club?
BLGC are desperate for all mentors –but particularly male mentors. So all you guys out there PLEASE give it some serious thought – its just a few hours a week but you can make a huge difference to a young person …and really for doing nothing more than offering a pair of ears that are for your young person only.
Why do you think Mentoring is an important service to provide?
You offer an independent support to youngsters that doesn’t report to schools, social workers, parents – unless you have a safety concern your discussions are between the two of you only and once your mentee understands and trusts that – it can be amazing how the relationship can flourish and grow. The fact that you are an unpaid volunteer is very important to these youngsters – the fact that you are there for them because you want to be …not because you are paid to be is very significant to them.
Thanks Glenn, we appreciate all the time and energy you donate to your Mentee, we know that they appreciate it no end!