The Neon Schools Mentoring Programme

Our Neon Schools Mentoring Programme aims to work with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people from the most deprived areas of Sheffield.  Through our team of trained, volunteer mentors we want to work alongside many of these young people aged 11-18 to help them to remove the barriers that prevent them from being the very best version of themselves.

How will it work?

In this first year of delivery we will directly impact over 50 young people’s lives.  These young people may be struggling in school, they may be dealing with mental health challenges, bullying, behavioural issues or difficulty at home or at school.  Many of these barriers present themselves as too difficult for many young people to overcome and the help and support of a mentor is intended to empower them to make good life choices based on a sound understanding of themselves and what they can bring to the world around them.

Each week within the first we will provide mentors to an initial minimum of three schools in disadvantaged areas.  Mentors will work in school and work alongside teaching and pastoral staff to ensure that support is targeted well for the best outcomes.  Each young person will have up to 20 weeks of support from a mentor.

In addition to the weekly mentoring, young people will also get opportunities to become involved in practical activities which:

  • Help them to gain confidence in an out-of-school environment or setting
  • Help them to see how their unique talent and energy can be used to help others in their community
  • Help them to be recognised by others (including their families) for their achievements both as part of the mentoring programme and in a wider community context
  • Grow their confidence, self-esteem and leadership ability and skills

Life Changing Outcomes

Often we talk about young people being trapped in ‘cyclical poverty’ or having insufficient ‘resilience’ to break out of cultural patterns of behaviour which inhibit their potential and development.  These young people tend to perform at lower levels in school and find themselves drawn into anti-social behaviour.  They very often end up being excluded from school; something that considerably increases the chances of them being involved in gangs and criminal activity and ultimately being part of the criminal justice system.

Evidence of successful mentoring schemes shows the impact that mentorship can and does have on reducing these and other risk factors in the lives of young people.  Through the project we aim to improve confidence, communication, mental health, resilience  and self-esteem and in doing so improve their aspiration, school attendance and attainment within school.  We also seek to improve the role of influential adults in their lives such as parents or guardians.

In social terms this will greatly impact the lives of young people.  In financial terms this programme is a worthy investment, as all too often the cost of neglect is great to the public pursue.  This is a cost which isn’t limited to their younger years but often follows through the whole of the life of that person.

We appreciate your help and support in supporting our efforts to make a difference.