Our Grandmentors volunteer their time, skills, compassion and expertise to help young people coming out of the care system so that they can become independent adults.

To mark Care Leavers Week 2020 we’re launching the next phase of this award-winning programme – Great Grandmentors.

Over the past 3 years we’ve seen our Grandmentors going above and beyond to help young people. The enthusiasm and pride of our volunteers led them to champion the impact of the programme locally, building links within business community and professional networks to support mentees and give them access to opportunity and wider networks that previously may have been closed to them.

We also saw Grandmentors desire to come together to help overcome the common challenges young care leavers face – barriers to employment, a lack of access to support or professional networks, mental health and wellbeing, access to education and developing life skills.

So our volunteers have been collaborating with the team at Humanly and NESTA, creating new roles to enhance the programme and bring more benefits to the young people taking part.

In Islington, London and Milton Keynes, two new volunteer roles came out of this, under the banner Great Grandmentors:

  • A co-ordinator role, arranging a space for fellow mentors to have group discussion and shared resources, including guest speakers and events covering the challenges young people are facing locally and nationally.
  • Ambassadors, to build links, raise the profile of the programme and create opportunities for volunteers to get involved in the programme who may not wish to be a dedicated Grandmentor.

We’ve been trialling these in Islington and Milton Keynes. Volunteer co-ordinators haves been scheduling meeting and talks with guest speakers covering an areas such as mental health and suicide awareness, cookery and healthy eating, Universal Credit and wider understanding of the care system and journey a young person may have taken in this system.

And we’ve already seen Ambassadors from the business community delivering matching events, offering design and marketing support for the projects. And we’ve seen embryonic shoots of youth social action by younger volunteers now able to get involved, alongside new connections building our impact and reach as a place-based national charity.

By collaborating and working closely with our volunteers and the people they support to strengthen our work, increase impact through collaboration and create even more opportunities in the places and communities where we are based

Covid-19 put an untimely pause, like so many things, to the launch of Great Grandmentors nationally in March 2020.  We are, however, proud to launch this project across all Grandmentors places in Care Leavers’ Week 2020.  We invite you to join us as a Great Grandmentor, enhance this life changing project’s impact and build stronger communities for us all.

To find out more email grandmentors@volunteeringmatters.org.uk

By Kelly Israel.