A MENTORING project is marking its first birthday with the hope it can help even more young people.

Y Sort It’s Intandem scheme started in January 2017 to expand their Buddy Up peer mentoring service, which began in September 2015 and Buddy Up caters to those who have experienced the care system aged 14 to 26. All the mentors are aged 18 to 30.

Intandem’s volunteers are all over 18 and support youngsters aged eight to 14 who are looked after at home.  Volunteers meet their young people once a week for a couple of hours through the year and get involved in activities such as for swimming, cooking, bowling or simply getting outdoors and going for a walk and a catch up.

Since both projects have been running, mentors have completed 820 hours of training, 594 activities with their youngsters and a total of 1,782 hours offering support.

Katie Walsh, Intandem’s co-ordinator, said: “The aim of the service is for the young person to enjoy themselves through these activities but also for their mentor to support them to achieve a goal such as trying a new hobby or building the confidence to make new friends in their area. Mentors are also able to become a trusted role model for the young person and support them through all the ups and downs that life can have.

“West Dunbartonshire mentoring services are leading the way for mentoring in Scotland. This year is also Year of Young People which is an opportunity to celebrate our nation’s youth aged eight to 26. We are hoping to make the most of 2018 by continuing to provide opportunities for vulnerable young people in our community who need support.”

One Volunteer Jennifer McKechnie said: “I started mentoring hoping to make a difference to a young person. I had no understanding of the positive impact it would have on me.” I would recommend mentoring with Y Sort It to anyone thinking about volunteering.” 

And fellow mentor Elizabeth Muir said: “It’s lovely to watch a young person grow and be there for them to offer support and advice when needed. I have gained so much more out of mentoring than I ever thought I would.” 

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor or finding out more about the project should contact Lyndsey Coleman or Katie Walsh at Y Sort It on 0141 941 3308.