What is mentoring?

Soulscape’s volunteer mentors work with students in primary and secondary schools.

It’s an opportunity for young people to be supported one-on-one, prioritise their mental wellbeing and personal development, and talk through whatever is on their mind before it becomes a bigger problem.

How does our mentoring work?

As of September 2020, our trained mentors are working with secondary school students at St Crispin’s School, and primary school students at Keephatch Primary.

The schools identify students who they think will benefit most from this individual support. Soulscape works alongside the schools to match students up with the most suitable mentor for them.

Students meet with their Soulscape mentor once a week during the school day for a whole academic year.

What is different about mentoring?

Talking to a mentor who is committed to you for a year has lots of advantages. Unlike a teaching session, there’s no agenda and plenty of time to get to know one another and build trust.

Many studies have shown that a stable, trusting relationship with a significant adult is the biggest factor determining how well a young person navigates through life. Parents, carers and teachers are obvious potential role models and sources of support, but not every young person has these in place.

Everybody has different relationships with their parents and teachers – a teenager may find it hard to discuss certain things with their parents but may find it easier to open up with a mentor who is there purely to listen to them.

Mentoring has been shown to improve young people’s self-esteem and confidence, to lower the chances of them getting involved with drugs or other high-risk behaviours, to improve their behaviour and their relationships at home and school, and to improve their academic performance too.

Why is mentoring important?

As the impact of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown and school closures became clear, we wanted to offer local young people some enhanced support with their mental wellbeing.

Young people have had six months off school with little social contact or routine. While for some it’s been a welcome break from the pressures of school, it has been a struggle for many others. A YoungMinds survey found that 80% of young people with previous mental health concerns said the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse, and 41% said it had made their mental health “much worse”. This was related to increased feelings of anxiety, isolation, a loss of coping mechanisms or a loss of motivation.

Berkshire schools recognise that they need to put extra support in place to help students process everything that’s happened and adapt to being back in school. Soulscape is once again working closely with local schools to provide the reflective space and support that young people need – this year more than ever.

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