Wheatley helping young people through mentoring programme
Young people from disadvantaged communities are receiving vital mentoring support thanks to staff from Wheatley Group.
Wheatley, in partnership with MCR Pathways and its Young Glasgow Talent (YGT) campaign, has already offered mentoring support to 30 young people with plans to expand the programme involving up to 100 Wheatley staff over the next year.
The programme, aims to provide young people with tailored one-to-one support from a carefully matched and trained adult.
Staff from Wheatley Group give an hour of their time each week to meet with young people from aged 13, some of whom are ‘looked after’ children under the care of Glasgow City Council.
Mentor Donna Marie Costello works for GHA, one of Wheatley’s social landlords, in the North East of Glasgow. She wanted to do something to make a difference to a young person’s life. She signed up to take part in the programme to support ‘looked after’ children.
She has been mentoring a school girl since November 2014, talking through academic progress, dealing with issues at home and future career. She will continue to support her until she leaves school.
GHA furnished lets co-ordinator, Donna Marie, said: “I meet my mentee every week for 50 minutes, to offer help, guidance and advice. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to and who will listen and not judge is really important for them, some of whom may not have a stable home life.
“It’s helped me gain a greater understanding of the issues and challenges that our young people face these days. There is also a fantastic support network through MCR Pathways who run the Young Glasgow Talent programme.
“Since meeting my young person nearly two years ago, I have seen some positive changes in her behaviours. She now has a real sense of self-belief and is considering further education. This is a common effect that MCR Pathways can have on the lives of young people.
“It’s been challenging but extremely worthwhile. I’m really glad I got involved and would do it again in a heartbeat. I’m proud to make a difference to someone’s life – no matter how small. The scheme has proved so successful that other school children are now asking for a mentor.”
Iain MacRitchie, founder of MCR Pathways, said: “Wheatley Group is not only an exceptional and pioneering organisation but an inspired team of people who share a passion to help make people lives better. We completely share a vision and absolute determination that there should be no differences in the education outcomes and life chances of our most disadvantaged young people. This is our only definition of success and we will keep making things happen until it is the reality.”
Wheatley is also offering “talent taster” sessions for the most vulnerable young people. These sessions involve young people spending a day with a member of Wheatley’s staff to hear about their profession and tell their story. It is hoped that this will trigger aspirations in young people as they see what they could achieve.
Wheatley has already trialled five sessions and will offer 40 different types of taster sessions across the Group, including housing, factoring, environmental work and care over the course of the next school year.
Martin Armstrong, Wheatley Group CEO, said: “Today’s young people are the workforce of the future so it’s really important for us to offer them any help and guidance that we can.
“Through our staff sharing their experience, especially with the most vulnerable, we hope we can go even a little way to help them realise their potential and have the same education, career opportunities and chances in life as any other young person.”
Wheatley is one of a first pioneering group of organisations which have signed up to the programme to support young people and help build their knowledge, confidence and aspirations.