Evaluations into our work with children and young people
St Helens SOS+ Mentoring Project
Evaluated by: JH Consulting
- Discussions with SGT project management and delivery staff, schools and other professionals
- Discussions with young people accessing the service and family members, and
- Review of relevant materials including project documentation, monitoring data and internal/funder reporting.
The St Helens SOS+ mentoring project has to date been funded jointly by Merseyside Violence Prevention Unit (VRP) and St Giles Trust (SGT), and delivered by SGT. The project began in September 2020 with the intention of delivering over a 3 year period, however, funding beyond the end of September 2021 is yet to be confirmed.
The overall aim of the project is to deliver a combination of facilitated awareness raising sessions and one-to-one support, provided by skilled mentors with lived experience, with the key objectives of:
- Preventing young people becoming involved in serious youth violence and criminal activity by demystifying gang culture and educating them about the harsh realities of knife crime and prison life;
- Imparting real tools that young people can utilise to make better informed decisions and to avoid negative lifestyle choices
- Endorsing the benefits of education, and
- Equipping parents and professionals with the knowledge, understanding and tools to help safeguard their young people.
- The project is supporting some of the most vulnerable students. 28 young people aged between 11-16 years have been referred, with the majority aged 14-16 years. 27 of the young people have recognised social, emotional and/or mental health needs and half are under Child in Need or Child Protection arrangements. All are of White British ethnicity, with being 22 male and 6 female. It is particularly positive that girls as well as boys have been identified for support.
- The mentoring project is new to St Helens and provides a specialist service that has not been previously offered. The project has been extremely well received by schools and welcomed by staff, other professionals and parents alike.
- The sessions delivered for around 500 Merseyside police officers, combined with the teamworking with other professionals is helping to increase understanding in agencies of how exploited and vulnerable young people present and how best to respond to them.
- The mentor’s lived experience provides the essential credibility that enables her to engage young people and develop the relationships of trust that can begin to change lives. This, combined with her approachability, professionalism, tenacity and flexibility form the key success factors for the project.