More vol­un­teers needed to help those leav­ing care

Macclesfield Express - - CHARITY ROUND-UP -

A PROJECT which helps sup­port young adults who have left the care sys­tem is look­ing for com­pas­sion­ate men­tors to join the scheme.

Pure In­sight helps to tackle lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion among young­sters who have turned 16 and are no longer un­der the care of the lo­cal au­thor­ity.

The project, for young peo­ple aged up to 25, matches the young­sters up with a men­tor who can pro­vide a vi­tal sup­port net­work while they learn to find their feet.

Since it came to Mac­cles­field in Jan­uary this year, 23 young­sters have been matched with nine vol­un­teers who are trained and sup­ported to work with a young per­son on a one-to-one ba­sis.

Now the char­ity is look­ing to re­cruit its sec­ond set of vol­un­teers.

Sarah Sturmey, who set up the char­ity in Stock­port in 2013, said: “We es­tab­lished at the be­gin­ning of 2013 as a di­rect re­sponse to the un­met needs of lo­cal care leavers who were telling us they felt lonely, iso­lated and worn out by not be­ing ad­e­quately pre­pared or sup­ported to deal with the chal­lenges of liv­ing in­de­pen­dently.

“Many care leavers do man­age to build ful­fill­ing and suc­cess­ful lives, al­though of­ten a good 10 years be­hind their peers.

“With­out ex­cep­tion, their re­silience is partly the re­sult of some­one, at some­time, of­fer­ing a helping hand or cham­pi­oning them.”

She added: “The govern­ment’s Keep on Car­ing Strat­egy (2016) fed back the views of care leavers na­tion­ally. They re­ported that leav­ing care still felt like a ‘cliff-edge’, where they were sud­denly re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing bud­gets, run­ning a home; and main­tain­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in ed­u­ca­tion or work on their own – with in­suf­fi­cient prepa­ra­tion for these chal­lenges.

“But over­whelm­ingly, the big­gest is­sue raised by care leavers was one of iso­la­tion and lone­li­ness; and the dif­fi­culty of nav­i­gat­ing their way through their late teens and early twen­ties with­out a strong and sta­ble so­cial net­work to sup­port them.”

She added: “If you are a kind com­pas­sion­ate hu­man be­ing and have some reg­u­lar time to ded­i­cate to a lo­cal young per­son, we can pro­vide the rest.”

An in­for­ma­tion day is be­ing held on Mon­day, July 17, from 6pm un­til 8.30pm at Airbag In­ter­na­tional Ltd, Vik­ing Way, Con­gle­ton.

Men­tor train­ing will be­gin in Septem­ber for 10 weeks. Men­tors must commit to a min­i­mum of two years.

Vol­un­teers at Mac­cles­field’s Pure In­sight have helped 23 young peo­ple since it was set up in Jan­uary

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