A is a young man with ASD who found the transition to secondary school really challenging. With the difficulties of COVID lockdown added to his stress, A became very anxious and withdrew into his home for security. At the point where Impact met him, A was rarely leaving the home and could not engage with education at all. A’s mentor took time to gain his trust by visiting the home and spending time alongside him while he played in the garden or even in the doorway while she stood outside. Over many weeks their relationship developed to the point where A would leave the home with her for short times. A conversation led to a thought about going to Willsbridge Mill where he could be outdoors and in nature. This proved to be a breakthrough as A also engaged with the staff there and ended up doing some short pieces of volunteering there. This began to give him a weekly routine and help him to re-discover more inter-personal skills.
The next challenge was to encourage A back into school. The staff at Threeways in Bath built on the nurturing approach and increase confidence that his mentor had developed in A and step by step he returned to school. He is now attending daily ad thriving there. We were able to stop our mentoring with A as a result. This is always a signal to us that we have achieved what was intended, and we could not be prouder of A.
J was living in care in Weston-Super-Mare when we first began mentoring him. J found it hard to settle in his placements and moved foster home several times over a short period. He also found it very difficult to manage school. He was permanently excluded from two schools and failed a managed move to a third. In all this time, mentoring was the constant and the relationships he developed with his mentors proved to be the most secure thread running through his life. J maintained aspirations for his education throughout two years of upheaval. At time his mentors were seeing him seven days a week to help him stay positive and avoid episodes of self-harming.
At the point where J moved to a placement in Yate, he had maintained his focus on getting to college and with the input of some 1:1 tutoring, he was accepted onto a L2 Engineering course at City of Bristol College. He is well on his way to passing the course and still has mentoring once a fortnight to keep in touch with the mentors who have been alongside him on his journey. J has always been a star, and we are so pleased to see the successful young man that he has become.
K has been with Impact for 4 years. Initially his school were at a loss of how to reach him and he was frequently isolated. We initially began to work with him for one session a week and it quickly became clear that he is a unique young man with a love of cars and a first-rate sense of humour. After establishing a positive mentoring relationship with his first mentor, Lee and buying into Impact as an organisation, K became the first athlete to start on our Olympic Weightlifting programme. Two and a half years later, he successfully transferred to Broadlands Academy where he was successful in his exams. He is now studying mechanics at Bath College. In the same time period, he has become an excellent weightlifter with the ability to compete if he wanted to. K is well and truly part of the impact ‘family’ and attends CrossFit classes with his dad. This brings us a huge amount of joy and pride.
E was a student at Pathways Learning Centre in Year 7 when we began to mentor her. Complex issues out of school were affecting her emotionally. As she was settling in, at one point we worked with her every day as part of her school programme. Her programme evolved to contain other elements of alternative provision and we reduced our mentoring to twice each week. An early college taster in Year 10 led to a college placement in Year 11. E is now at college Post 16 successfully studying for her Level 3 qualification in Hair and Beauty at City of Bristol College, working part-time and taking driving lessons. E is a great example of how a planned programme including alternative provision can support a young person to fulfil their ambitions successfully. We are so pleased that E has taken control of her life and future so strongly.
M has complex autism. We were asked to mentor her with a focus on safety, awareness when out and about and on how to manage interpersonal space when socialising. M has become one of our best-liked mentees, She has grown in confidence so much, and been able to socialise through her work with Impact. Her relationship skills and her ability to manage personal space, conversations and to interact with others has enabled her to mix and have fun with other mentees. M has developed a love of running, and recently completed the Bristol half marathon independently. She is part now of a club in her local area where she can enjoy running with others.
When we first met I he was in hospital. He had been through a difficult time at school and was unable to attend. His emotional wellbeing was low and social and emotional issues meant that he had lost confidence and optimism. Mentoring became a big part of I’s programme during year 10 and 11. It soon became clear that I has great leadership skills and is great at connecting with others. He became an extremely well-liked member of Impact-full of ingenuity and good ideas. Part of his success was down to his great aptitude and skill as a cook. As part of his programme, he laid on an industry standard meal for a group of people at our HQ. In Year 11 we added tutoring to his programme to enable him to gain qualifications at his home school in English and Maths. I’s love of animals is a key part of his unique individuality. He now works at a reptile emporium alongside an Animal Care course at SGS college. We anticipate big things for I, who still has an input into developments we are working on for the future.
S was a refugee who is now still in the UK. She worked with one of our mentors for the first three years of her time here. Her mentors helped her to develop her skills in English alongside her independence skills so that she could access opportunities in Bristol from her home placement in Weston-Super-Mare. This also enabled her to connect with her friends in the Somali community in Bristol. A successfully attended college in Bristol and the support from her mentor gave her confidence and consistent support until she was 16. S has now moved to Bristol, lives independently and is continuing with her college course.
Pathways Learning Centre have commissioned mentoring services from Impact Mentoring, since 2016. During this time, we have sent a large number of referrals and have worked in partnership with Impact, to ensure that the young people at our school can access quality mentoring. PLC and Impact have enjoyed a longstanding, professional working relationship and we continue to commission them to work with our students. Many of our students have been able to engage in their group programmes and can take advantage of their new, bespoke facilities. We look forward to continuing to work together in the future.
Lisa Fletcher, Alternative Provision Co-Ordinator, Pathways Learning Centre