Validated local practice details

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C4EO theme: Vulnerable (Looked After) Children

Mentoring and Peer Support (MAPS) 1:1 for vulnerable children and young people, London Borough of Sutton.

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Vulnerable (Looked After) Children
  • Schools and Communities
  • General resources
  • Local area early intervention strategies

Priorities this local practice example relates to:

    Basic details

    Organisation submitting example

    Volunteer Centre Sutton

    Local authority/local area:

    London Borough of Sutton

     

    The context and rationale

    Background details to your example

    Summary
    MAPS (Mentoring and Peer Support) provide 1:1 volunteer mentors to support vulnerable children and young people aged 8-24 in the London Borough of Sutton (LBS). The mentors are hand-picked for each young person and they commit to a year’s relationship, supporting and journeying with their mentee. MAPS is a department of the Volunteer Centre Sutton (VCS), who govern the programme and MAPS is accountable to VCS for good practice, safeguarding, finance, HR etc., benefitting from the economy of scale.

    Background:


    The project started over 15 years ago, with two members of staff, in response to the needs of a handful of young people showing signs of low attainment and antisocial behaviour. VCS worked with the local authority and one school to create a programme that offered a volunteering opportunity for skilled adults keen to work with young people, and provided support to young people who needed a listening ear. Over the years, the project has evolved to 11 members of staff, 125 young people and over 150 mentors at any one time in the 1:1 project, plus a further 300 young people through the peer mentoring and group training projects.

    MAPS consist of seven project streams, which relate to the various referral agencies and funders involved. The streams include: Inclusion (through the borough’s Children and Young People’s Integrated Support Panel (CYPISP), focusing on early intervention); Looked After Children (LAC); Leaving Care (LCT); MAC (Mentoring Alternative Care for young people who don’t live with birth parents but are looked after through alternative care plans, e.g. Special Guardianship Orders); Schools; LEAP (a project for 16-24 year olds aiming to gain education, employment or training with the support of a mentor); and Peer Mentoring in schools. As well as this, VCS deliver group projects such as ‘Navigate’ (a course for those at risk of exclusion) and the LOFT project (a tier two early intervention programme for young people at risk of drug and alcohol misuse).

    MAPS values are as follows:
    • It works in line with Every Child Matters and its five outcomes.
    • MAPS is led by the needs of children and young people.
    • Good communication is key, and mentees play an active role in evaluating and developing the project.
    • All relationships are voluntary, built on trust and respect.
    • All relationships are structured with clear objectives.
    • MAPS recruit, screen, train and support every volunteer mentor.
    • MAPS regularly monitor and evaluate the project.
    • Every mentor is supervised regularly and supported.
    • MAPS work within the boundaries of good practice and child protection.
    • MAPS work in partnership with agencies and are flexible in the approach. VCS support and value one another’s work and are accountable for good practice.
    • It believes in equal opportunities for every volunteer mentor and young person.

    The project has grown organically over a long period of time and has responded to the needs of the borough’s priorities for children and young people. For example, four years ago, the number of NEET young people (Not in Education, Employment or Training) began to rise significantly, and so VCS partnered with Connexions and CYPISP to respond by accepting additional funding to work specifically with NEET referrals through the CYPISP panel.

    Knowledge base:
    After a decade and a half of delivery, MAPS continue to monitor reports, studies and legislation in order to best provide a service as practitioners and infrastructure support to other organisations. VCS is a strategic partner to London Borough of Sutton and contributes to local strategies such as the compact, as well as more national reports such as the recent Graham Allen Early Intervention Report (Early Intervention: The Next Steps, 2010) and the CSJ Alliance Media Panel.

    In a research study by C4EO entitled Increasing the engagement of young people in positive activities, it is stated that ‘Voluntary organisations are very well placed to engage with young people and have a
    long history of providing a broad range of positive activities in local communities. Voluntary organisations may be commissioned by local authorities, and others, to provide services and are responsible for monitoring who takes part and what the outcomes are. Volunteering itself is an important positive activity for young people.’ Sitting within the Volunteer Centre is a real asset to MAPS as VCS have a direct route to finding volunteers and also tapping young people into volunteering opportunities alongside the mentoring.VCS broker over 4000 voluntary opportunities each year and are the largest independent Volunteer Centre in the country. VCS also boast a number of Quality Standard marks including ‘Investors in People’ and ‘Investing in Volunteers’. Both require high levels of evidence to illustrate that the way both staff and volunteers are managed, supported and resourced reaches the highest of standards. ‘The Greater London Volunteer Management Charter’ was also used as a framework. This is a public commitment to delivering excellence in volunteering infrastructure services provided at VCS.

    There is a real need for mentoring in Sutton – a view shared by the council commissioners, and there is both quantitative and qualitative evidence tracking the progress and outcomes for vulnerable young people over the project history (annual review and case study examples are available from the C4EO team at the NFER). There is also anecdotal evidence from the ‘asset building mentoring approach,’ as it is now widely accepted as an effective tool for young people who find themselves bereft of assets due to external and internal factors. For example, there is much evidence to link family poverty to school attainment, which in turn, is a trigger for teenage pregnancy, offending behaviour, truancy, drug and alcohol misuse (Health and Deprivation data in Sutton and Merton, 2010) However, research by the Search Institute and affiliated groups suggests that low-income families do better in school when they experience more ‘developmental assets’. For example, Scales, Peter C, & Roehlkepartain,Eugene C (2003) suggested, more than half of low-income students with 0 to 10 assets reported experiencing trouble in school, whereas no low-income students with high assets (31–40) reported having trouble in school (defined as skipping school 2 or more times in the past month and averaging below C grades).
    A study of 429 economically poor students in an urban high school (85% eligible for free school meals) found similar patterns: students at successively higher asset levels had 52% more indicators that they were thriving, including getting mostly A grades, than students at lower asset levels. (Boosting Student Achievement, 2003)
    Please visit http://www.search-institute.org/research/assets for research detail.
    In Sutton, the attainment gap of young people receiving free school meals, and that of their peers achieving 5 A*-C grades is above the national and regional average (at 36.9% in 2009) so presence assisting 300+ young people to build assets both in and outside of school is significant.

    VCS are one of the few recognised good practice early interventions in Sutton and remain the only long-term (1 year) intervention for young people, meaning that whilst VCS are cost effective, utilising full cost recovery, VCS are not a cheap option for the council, despite the presence of cheaper (and in the case of some corporate agencies, massively subsidised) competitors, MAPS outcome delivery remains the driver for local investment. Whilst other providers come and go through the current commissioning framework for early and more therapeutic interventions, MAPS has been core funded for up to six years. The threshold for child services has risen in tandem with the austerity measures, and only one in four of the referrals made to MAPS through the Inclusion stream can be accepted because of limited funding. This means VCS have to prioritise those who would benefit most from mentoring and point other referrals to alternative services – recognising that whilst mentoring is the best pedagogical tool for youth development, it is not a panacea.

    An interesting example of the need for mentoring as an early intervention is the recent London Borough of Sutton Safeguarding and Looked After Children Ofsted report.

    Nationally there are more LAC (at over 65,000) than at any time since 1987, with 62% of such children’s main contributing factor being the escape of abuse and neglect. LAC are one of the UK’s most excluded groups, with only 12% achieving benchmark A*-C grades at GCSE compared with 59% for all pupils. Children in care are 4-5 times more likely to have mental health issues than their peers, and a third of homeless people were formerly in care (Centre for Social Justice – Couldn’t Care Less report, 2008). Despite the stark picture, Sutton’s LAC provision has recently been deemed unacceptable by Ofsted. This is striking as other features of Sutton’s Ofsted profile (for example the Youth Offending Team) are amongst the best in the UK. The only reason for highlighting the current Ofsted woe, is that amongst the few areas of praise is the provision:
    “There is an effective advocate and independent visiting service provided by a local third sector organisation that also provides a range of other specialist services for young people. The advocate service is available to all of Sutton’s looked after children and young people and care leavers should they need additional support to express their views and opinions” (Ofsted, Inspection of Safeguarding and Looked after Children Services, London Borough of Sutton, 2012).

    Sutton is very much a borough of contrasts with areas of affluence sitting alongside super-output areas. Currently 25% of all mentees come from just 2 of the 18 wards – the 2 wards are amongst Sutton’s most densely populated and there is one example of 5 mentees all living on one road. This is an example of professionals referring to the project demonstrating a good understanding of where the early intervention resource is best targeted. Sutton is home to 194,200 residents. It is predicted that by 2019 there will be 44,815 5-24 year olds (GLA Round household projections 2008) which is the age criterion for MAPS, and there is an increase in some of the contributing factors to young people requiring mentoring, for example a widening poverty gap; there will be over 6000 single parent families in the coming years, 91% of MAPS referrals in 2012 were from single parent families; youth unemployment continues to rise, Sutton unemployment is currently at 24% with 950 18-24 year-olds claiming JSA – an increase of 12.4% on the previous year (Sutton Local Authority Area Labour Market Bulletin March 2012). Educational reform has come at a time when Sutton schools are amongst the finest in the country, however there are a high number of selective schools and newly formed academies, so at ground level there is a feeling amongst professionals that there is disconnect between the media and the opportunities for local children who are not ‘high attainers’.
    The above factors show a likely increase in need for good practice mentoring in the coming years. The 1:1 and bespoke group training schemes are designed to meet a myriad of challenges head-on with the key aims:

    1) to improve the quality of life and longer term opportunities for Sutton’s most vulnerable, isolated and disadvantaged young people in society
    2) to build social cohesion and derive new and improved skills and opportunities for volunteers.

     

    The practice

    Further details about the practice

    MAPS exist to address the social and community needs of a broad and diverse population within the London Borough of Sutton. This is achieved through recruiting, training and supporting volunteers from the local community working on a 1:1 basis to empower, enthuse, support and encourage young people to transition through difficult times and achieve independence, self-worth, motivation and social and educational skills. This is framed by measurable outcomes that are monitored, evaluated and acted upon.

    Mentees receive regular support and encouragement from an independent adult, outside of their school, home life, carers and social workers. Each mentor is a volunteer and young people value having someone spending time with them giving of their own free time, without a hidden agenda.

    MAPS ethos of empowerment of young people means they are constantly encouraged to make decisions for themselves and find their own solutions, so that independence skills are increased and they don't become dependent on their mentor.


    Volunteer recruitment, training and support
    MAPS train new volunteers three times a year, recruiting approximately 20 mentors per round, and therefore seeing up to 60 new mentors a year. This builds upon a bank of over 150 mentors, with a 50% retention rate after one year of mentoring. Interest comes from general interviews at the Volunteer Centre, word of mouth recommendations from current mentors and those connected with the programme in some way, advertising in the local ‘Sutton Scene’ magazine and 90+ advertising spaces across the borough, such as GP surgeries.
    The screening and training process is an assessment of each volunteer from interview through to the end of training. The process includes the following:
    • Two hour interview with two MAPS team members – a way to determine if mentoring is the right opportunity for each volunteer, based on the role description and person specification. The interview questions include asking for information on life experience, skill sets, interests and reasons for volunteering. If during, or at the end of an interview, there is a strong feeling that the candidate is not appropriate for mentoring, the process will be ended there and the volunteer will be redirected to alternative volunteering opportunities more suited to them.
    • Enhanced CRB check and declaration, with protocols in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000.
    • 2 references taken for each volunteer. In cases where there has been a mental health disorder or experience of counselling or therapy disclosed, an additional third reference is sought from a medical professional.
    • The training course is a total of 16 hours over 3 days and includes sessions on: Personal Awareness, Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication, Perception and Prejudice, Boundaries and Confidentiality, Child Protection, Listening Skills, Building Rapport with your Mentee, The First Three Months, 40 Developmental Assets, Goal Setting, Non-Advice Approach, Challenging Behaviour and Positive Feedback, as well as introductions to several partner agencies and the chance to meet and ask questions to current mentors.
    • All volunteers are observed and assessed throughout the process and a decision is made after training has been completed. Every volunteer is given a feedback call to be accepted or declined.
    • Volunteers are only accepted as mentors if all paperwork is satisfactory, they have the skills to mentor and meet the person specification, being appropriate to work with a vulnerable young person.
    In addition to initial compulsory training, mentors are offered the opportunity to engage in further training around specific topics throughout their time as a mentors, such as: Anger Management, Depression and Anxiety, Nutrition, Drugs and Alcohol, Child Protection, Looked After Children and training on Autistic Spectrum Disorder, to name a few.
    Every three years, all staff and volunteers are required to refresh child protection training, in line with LBS’s safeguarding policy. All schools mentors renew each year.
    All mentors receive monthly supervision with a coordinator where further resources and training can be given on a one to one basis, specific to the needs of their mentoring relationship.

    Referrals, matchings, supervisions and the year’s structure
    • Referrals come directly from professionals and agencies working with young people, by post, email or fax. Inclusion stream referrals are made through the CYPISP panel, LAC and LCT referrals are made by social workers on those teams, school referrals are made by the contact teacher in each school (usually a deputy Head), MAC referrals come through social services, Joint Adolescent Service, Family Services and the Special Guardianship coordinator and LEAP referrals are made by the Job Centre, schools, Youth Service and CYPISP.
    • Once a referral is received, VCS arrange a home visit (or visit in school for schools stream) to get to know the young person, find out how mentoring can help them and gain parental consent.
    • The young person is then brought to the next weekly matching meeting with the whole MAPS team, and the best possible match of a mentor is identified.
    • VCS then speak to the mentor about the young person and ensure they are happy to take them on.
    • A matching meeting takes place with the mentor, mentee and coordinator and a first meeting is arranged. The mentoring agreement is signed by both the mentor and the mentee.
    • A post-matching letter is sent to the mentor. All mentors receive a 12 month supervision plan, a signed risk assessment, 2 copies of the mentoring agreement, a meeting record and expenses form, a session planning tool, a drivers’ form (if necessary) and a freepost envelope.
    • The coordinator calls the mentor after their first session to see how it went.
    • Monthly supervision meetings take place between the coordinator and the mentor.
    • In addition to the monthly support, the coordinator meets with the mentor and mentee on a quarterly basis to review and evaluate the relationship.
    • At the nine month review, an exit strategy is made and dates are set for the ending of the relationship.
    • The young person and mentor meet with the coordinator in the last two weeks of the relationship to do a final evaluation and also have a final meeting together to celebrate all of the young person’s achievements throughout the year of mentoring.

    Reporting
    • Quarterly reviews take place with each of the agencies VCS work with. The schools coordinator meets with each school on a half-termly to termly basis.
    • VCS also complete an annual evaluation that is published. (available at http://issuu.com/mapsmentoring/docs/annual_report_2011-12_final/1)
    • MAPS contribute to the VCS annual report.

    Multi-Agency Working
    MAPS are committed to partnership working and always have been. VCS have a long-standing history of multi-agency work with the London Borough of Sutton and many other voluntary organizations. Current statutory agencies that VCS work with are the Looked After Children team, Leaving Care Team, CYPISP, Joint Adolescent Service, Adoption & Fostering team, Family Support & Care Planning team, Youth Offending Team, Connexions, schools and the Referral & Assessment team. As well as this, VCS work with voluntary organizations and groups such as Jigsaw 4U (bereavement and loss counselling), The Salvation Army (youth drugs and alcohol project, and community training facilities), and Romance Academy (relationships and sex education).

    The Team

    The MAPS team of coordinators come from a diverse background, boasting skilled professional qualifications ranging from Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTTLS) to JNC Youthwork and Teaching QTS (Qualified Teacher Status); as well as academic qualifications in child psychology and education, theological education and youth ministry; and a complement of backgrounds in project management, communications and training from staff who first worked in the private sector, but moved to the third sector having experienced mentoring first- hand, and are now thriving. Of the 11 current team members, seven first volunteered as mentors.

     

    Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

    Evidencing your practice has made a difference to children, young people and families

    MAPS work within a framework based on the 40 Developmental Assets (Search Institute, Minneapolis, USA), which is evidenced through a piece of on-going research into 3 million young people over a decade. There are 40 assets in the model that are found to be inherently good for young people; the more assets someone has, the more likely they are to achieve educationally, have higher aspirations and build healthy relationships, and the fewer assets they have, the more likely they are to become involved in criminal behaviour, suffer with substance misuse and addictions, and be at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

    MAPS have developed a robust evaluation process called RADA (Relative Assessment of Developmental Assets), which is a confidential mechanism for collating consistent evaluation of progress made by individuals at five points of assessment throughout their mentoring year, as well as helping to identify any need for ongoing support and best targeting of resources. VCS feel that this method of evaluation is extremely strong and measures specific outcomes for young people. The goals that are set throughout the year at the three-month, six-month and nine-month stages link to specific assets within the framework. The RADA highlights long term improvements in each young person’s life. It also shows any need for on-going support. MAPS have a solid track record of ensuring that young people exit projects positively and, where appropriate, engage in further targeted services.

    The aims of the MAPS programme are to see vulnerable young people evidence significant improvements across eight measurable outcomes over 12 months of mentoring. These outcomes are:
    Support: The young person’s carers, community and school/college support and encourage them regularly and help them achieve in everyday life.
    Empowerment: The young person feels a part of their community and feels safe where they live. They are empowered to get involved in things that happen locally and encouraged to help others out.
    Boundaries & Expectations: The young person has clear boundaries at home, school/college and in the community. They know what is expected of them and have people to look up to.
    Constructive Use of Time: Time is used constructively at home and young people engage in extra activities outside of home/school/college, such as music, sports, youth clubs or religious activities.
    Commitment to Learning: The young person is motivated to achieve in education or training. They have a positive attitude to learning and are committed to personal development.
    Positive Values: The young person treats everybody equally. They handle responsibility well and stand up to injustice. They know how to make the right choices for themselves.
    Social Competencies: Respect for people is always present no matter who they are or where they’re from. The young person can be sensitive, friendly and resolve conflicts peacefully.
    Positive Identity: The young person is a confident person who has lots of ambitions and a positive view of their future. They feel in control of all the things that happen to them.

    These outcomes are the eight sub-groups of the 40 Developmental Assets. Research proves that young people can improve their chances of succeeding in school, exhibiting leadership and maintaining good health by 63% (AAA UK, 2010). All 40 of the assets fall within the eight measured outcomes stated above. MAPS use the individual assets as a holistic framework for mentoring young people, empowering mentors and mentees to become asset builders. Each individual asset within the eight subcategories can be evidenced though positional statements by the child/young person, as well as other influential family members, teachers etc – although in most instances, MAPS concentrate on the child’s view of their asset count.

    For the year 2011-2012, MAPS saw an overall improvement across all streams of mentoring. The biggest impact that mentoring had on young people was an average 36% increase in their commitment to learning, a 29% increase in social competencies and a 31% increase in positive identity.

    Each project has a RADA that shows the average improvement (or decline) of mentees’ assets across the subcategories. Every single mentee is tracked five times a year, and the information is used to help the young person design their own mentoring journey and set smart goals.

    MAPS are part of the UK’s Asset Alliance group which consists of a number of groups and services using the 40 asset model in the best possible way. Whilst the Asset Approach is now worldwide, the RADA is unique to the MAPS project, and conversations are being had with the Search Institute about possible scale-up and contextualising the assets material to better suit projects here in the UK. MAPS have already delivered training on 40 assets and the RADA approach borough-wide and the local authority is investigating using the model for assessing all of their early intervention services for young people.

    Below are quotes from mentees, mentors, school teachers, social workers who refer in to the programme:

    Mentee Quotes:
    “Mentoring has been a journey we’ve been on together. Teresa has been understanding, helped me mature and seen me growing and change the way I think about things and deal with stuff. By having a mentor, I would say I have better friendships and gossip less. I still get as angry as I used to but I deal with it differently now in a much better way so it doesn’t affect me as much or everyone else.”

    “Mentoring has helped me see that, although I cannot change my circumstances, I can change the way I deal with them. I am now calmer, focused and more motivated ready for my GCSEs”

    “Jane has helped me not get bored - by seeing her she has given me the opportunity to go out and have fun doing things that I enjoy most. She has helped me to improve my behaviour at school - I get less detentions now! I have learnt to do pottery, my swimming has improved and I listen more and think about my actions more. If I have time when I am older I would like to become a mentor.”


    Mentor Quotes:
    “I am so proud of everything that Dave has achieved. He has improved attendance at school dramatically, even making it in on snow days! He is trying really hard with his work and is reaping the benefits. I really enjoy spending time with him, he is such a people person and always makes me smile”.

    “I will always remember this experience with such happiness. I am having so much fun and it is great to see a person growing into a wonderful young adult before my eyes and knowing that I have helped in some way to do this. I know that giving is what makes me truly happy and this experience has set the precedent for how I want to live the rest of my life.”


    School teacher Quote:
    “It has been great to see Sharon reintegrate into her peer group and re-establish good relationships with her friends. She has been given the tools and it is great to see her increased confidence and better understanding of herself. I am sure she will always be grateful for the support given by her mentor.”

    Social worker Quote:
    “This service has proved to be vital for a number of the young people I work with and has enabled me to provide further support for them whilst being in care that would otherwise not be provided.”

    The asset approach and RADA are the key foundations for all outcomes-based mentoring at MAPS, but this is only half the story in terms of young people engaging in the development of the programme. Each year, a steering group is run for mentees, and a scheme for mentors to link up with more experienced mentors. This year, youth workers are helping the young people trial an online steering group entitled Facebook: MSG (Mentee Steering Group), where stakeholders can contribute to forums and competitions as well as learning valuable new skills in project engagement and offering critique for the team to act upon.

     

    Sustaining and replicating your practice

    Helping others to replicate your practice

    Whilst this process can only touch the headlines of the robust evaluation process, progress for each young person who accessed mentoring over the last 15 years (although the Assets profiler has radically improved the process over the last three years) has been tracked. The key trends for the client group have reflected previous years, as evidence in 2012 has shown that 100% of young people accessing a mentor have improved their confidence and self-esteem, 70% have improved relationships with peers and 79% felt their lifestyle had improved through their ability to make wise choices and decisions for themselves.

    On average, using the 40 assets model, young people gained between five and ten assets through a year of mentoring, drastically improving their chances of a higher educational attainment and lowering the risk factors that would otherwise impact on them in some way.

    At the endings meeting at the closure of mentoring relationships with coordinators and mentors, young people are asked to comment on how they feel mentoring has benefitted them. In 15 years of the programme's existence, there has never had a mentee completing a year who has said that they haven't improved their confidence, alongside other outcomes such as more regular attendance at school, independence skills, better peer and/or family relationships and a stronger sense of identity.

    The full cost recovery breakdown for 1:1 mentoring is as follows:

    Schools:
    £1200 per student. Based on 40 x 1 hour sessions, the cost per hour works out at £30. The minimum number of referrals that can be taken at this price for the cost to be effective in this stream is 20.

    LAC, LCT, CYPISP, MAC: £1500 per young person, including all expenses and travel costs. Based on 48 x 2 hour sessions, the cost per hour works out at £16. The minimum number of referrals that can be taken at this price for the cost to be effective in these streams is 10.

    LEAP & LAC living out of borough: £1600 per young person. This is the same as the above rate but includes a bit extra for additional travel and resource expenses for these particular cases.
    MAPS are well known locally for being excellent value for money. These costs include mentor travel expenses, an activity budget of £40 per relationship per month (except schools where they use the MAPS resource library full of books and games), a dedicated coordinator for every mentoring relationship, all screening and training costs, marketing, evaluation and research.

    Peer: £5000 per cohort of 20 peer mentors (+ mentees = 40). There are 36 session per year, working out at £3.60 per hour.

    Lessons Learned
    As MAPS have grown organically in response to local need, new initiatives and procedures have been implemented to ensure good practice standards and measures are met. External factors such as moving to commissioning in Sutton has meant that MAPS have had to develop a strong suite of policies to pass several PQQ’s and win tenders – but with the new policies being lived out in practice (such as a new and improved environmental policy) staff and stakeholders benefit a great deal.
    The mechanisms for keeping records up to date and within the confidentiality framework have also been improved. Communications are logged effectively, robust policies and procedures are in place around safeguarding and child protection is evidenced by the schools mentoring stream, where 25% of referred young people disclosed a child protection issue last year; and MAPS ensure organisational good practice is adhered to by all VCS staff and volunteers.
    It is important to be ‘fluid’ in approach, due to the ongoing year’s relationships, rolling lists of new and existing mentors, team changes, and the reactive nature of the programme. Flexible approaches to partnership working and working with volunteers is crucial, as long as this is within reasonable boundaries and the expectations of the strategic plan.
    MAPS is now one of the biggest mentoring programmes in the country and with seven streams of mentoring, many volunteers and 11 members of staff, regular team meetings are crucial to ensure good communication channels and consistency. The team meets weekly to discuss programme, mentoring cohorts and for joint matching meetings:

    “Your hard work and the excellence of everything you have produced is truly remarkable. I have never seen a local project produce work of such a consistently high calibre, and as an outside observer it comes as little surprise to me that the lives of young people are so radically transformed by the MAPS experience, given the evident care and thought that goes into tailoring every programme and selecting, matching and training the mentors”
    Director of Social Justice Alliance and Awards.

    MAPS have won several awards in the last two years (Centre for Social Justice 2010, GamesAid 2010 and 2011, Faith Action July 2012). This was a great affirmation of the work being done, but in the current economic climate, it must not be taken for granted that MAPS are becoming well recognised for the good practice model of mentoring, and funding applications are becoming even more competitive, so every effort is being put into securing funding to continue the programme moving forward.

    Barriers and Challenges
    Funding will continue to be the biggest challenge. As mentioned previously, the core funding is secure, however there will be continued efforts to seek funding through trusts and new social enterprise ventures to develop core work and to pilot new initiatives. The MAPS funder roll of the past few years again echoes its pursuit of excellence, with Esmee Fairbairn, Children in Need, City Bridge Trust and the Big Lottery all choosing to invest financially in the outcomes MAPS deliver for children and young people. The training and resources have always brought excellent feedback, and there are now offered as a charged for service to other providers.

    Recent quotes from MAPS Train the Trainer:
    “I want to write to express my sincere thanks for the effort you made last week and for sharing your passion for youth in such an infectious manner. It was a great session and a real boost for us in getting our mentoring progamme going”.
    Youth Minister and Child Psychologist.

    Whilst the main bulk of MAPS programme is secure, new and innovative projects are still reliant on winning funding bids. At times, there can be a feeling of uncertainty but MAPS remain positive and focus on the young people being supported. It is important to acknowledge MAPS fortunate position of relative safety as LBS continues to recognise the talent of the third sector. This is not the case for many of the contemporaries and competitors. One of the reasons for LBS continued faith, is MAPS progressive stance. VCS is one of the few organisations to be involved in the Transforming Local Infrastructure programme, moving the sector in a more sustainable direction.
    MAPS mentors are a great resource. Many of them contribute even more time to help us fundraise through competing in marathons and other such events.
    LBS moved to a commissioning model over the past year, necessitating a move to tendering for MAPS. This represented funds that had always been granted to MAPS in the past in accordance with SLA compliance. VCS competed against big national organizations and other local boroughs and were successful in winning the tender and continue to deliver mentoring to the agencies involved. The move to tendering necessitated a large pull on resources, but has left us more robust. VCS have won other prestigious tenders built on the learning from the MAPS effort. Sadly, having won the youth mentoring tender, VCS then had to negotiate the numbers of referrals from London Borough of Sutton, as they could not afford the full cost recovery amount for the number of young people they wanted to work with.
    Another challenge from the current climate has been several large funding pots not recognising the need to fund management or overheads, only the direct work with young people. The manager role is also essential to a team of 11 people all working with different mentors and young people, thus making the fundraising strategy, innovation and a wide spread of income-generating options of vital importance.

    Golden Threads

    • From good to great
    • You can do it
    • It takes a community to raise a child
    • Prove it


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