Volunteer Mentors

Volunteer Mentors
Volunteer Mentors

Story: Alice Carder

On Wednesday 17th October 2007, 16-year-old Jonathan Matondo was shot in Nottingham Cliffe Rec. The community was shaken to the core as they tried to come to terms with what had happened.

Adults and teenagers alike were shocked that something so tragic had happened right on their doorstep. Desperate to stop the violence and prevent this happening again, members of the community called for action for the young people of Burngreave.

“We’d like to think early intervention could be the cure,” says Diane Johnson, a volunteer mentor with the Burngreave Mentoring Project (pictured third from right).

Diane has been a volunteer mentor for 5 months. In that time she has mentored two children.

“It’s important for young people to have positive role models to talk to and learn from, to give them back some of the hope they may have lost,” she said.

Diane has worked with children since leaving school and after completing a degree in Community Development in July, she decided she wanted to put it to good use.

“I feel I can give something back to my community with what I’ve learnt at University. Our role is to have empathy and understanding with people and be someone they can talk to confidentially. We’re not spies, we’re just trying to help by giving up some of our time to support families and children.”

Young people are usually referred to the scheme through their school and spend between 6 and 12 months with their mentor.

“They come in just needing support – you know they might be going to school but it’s sporadic. Some of them just need coaching into learning to deal with issues inside and outside of school and in their family life. They just need that extra outside help for mum and dad and for themselves. We’re there to give them a different perspective, to show them different ways of dealing with their problems.

“We take them to museums, I’ve taken mine to the library, for something to eat. I might take them to the adventure playground or the park – just fun stuff, but you’re getting to know that child and the child will probably discuss their anxieties with you.”

Diane has just started a job as a Family Advocacy Officer, helping families and children. She says mentoring has helped her settle into her new role.

“If a family is in trouble and needs support, sometimes the children’s attendance can slip. We get the parents up and running a good family life and that means that their kids can go to school, stay in school and do well. Mentoring is related to this and I think they both help each other.”

Diane recommends mentoring to anyone who wants to make a difference in their community:

“It’s rewarding. You feel as though you’re giving something back to your own community. If you live in a community such as Burngreave, where it has got a reputation for all sorts of unfounded stuff, I would say ‘go for it’ because you’re actually going to help your community. If you can just get in there and do something, if you can make a difference for one child out of ten, it’s really rewarding.”

For more details about becoming a Mentor, please contact: Jane Bennett or Julia Baker on Tel: 233 1189.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Ivor Wallace on 2009-11-25 18:11:39.
The content of the page was last modified by Jamie Marriott on 2009-11-30 14:26:44.

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