XLP launches youth mentoring project
Youth charity XLP is launching a national mentoring project this spring to help vulnerable young people and their families.
XL Mentoring National aims to support people affected by family breakdown, poverty, drugs and crime.
XLP founder Patrick Regan said those struggling with such challenges were often "without any consistent support in their lives".
He pointed to statistics from the Princes Trust saying that nearly a third (31%) of NEETs (not in education, employment or training) did not have someone to talk to about their problems while they were growing up.
"Just this week, I chatted to a single mother and her son, Samuel whose lives have been transformed through their relationship with an XLP mentor. I heard and felt the hope they now had for the future," said Regan.
"Samuel's mother, Veronica, spoke movingly about the way in which the mentor's presence in her son's life has really taken the pressure off her. She is reassured by the fact that there is someone else who is committed to seeing Samuel excel at school and make positive lifestyle choices. I was struck by her words, 'it's a whole new world for us.'"
The mentoring scheme will equip churches to offer support to struggling young people in their communities through an XL-Mentoring project.
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Mentoring coordinators in each church will recruit, train, monitor and supervise volunteer mentors sourced from the local community.
Mr Regan admitted that the challenges were huge.
"There are no quick fixes – with almost 1 million young people unemployed at present, it can be hard to see hope for the future," he said.
"This family's situation didn't change overnight as a result of a mentor coming into their life either. But the fact that someone has committed to working with them to help them overcome their challenges means they feel able to move forward.
"We've seen countless families and young people overcome the challenges in their life by drawing on strength they previously never felt they had – strength that is unlocked when someone comes alongside them to provide committed support."
Les Isaac, founder of the Ascension Trust and Street Pastors added his support, saying, "I'm always excited and thrilled about the work of XLP. I believe that their work with young people is having a significant impact. When churches get involved with XLP mentoring they are able to extend their contribution to the life of a young person."