Didcot TRAIN Youth Project

Group Mentoring

We offer a number of weekly group mentoring sessions based on educating young people of various topics which may be of relevance to them in a group setting. The group environment works really well for strengthening the confidence of those attending in communicating with others, voicing their views and generally learning about how to communicate in a collaborative, respectful manner.

What is delivered in each mentoring session is fluid and flexible to the young people’s input and preferences, based on their reflections and ideas for topics they are keen to be covered. 

 Young Women’s Group

Our weekly Young Women’s Group offers a safe environment for young women to explore issues relevant to behaviours, thinking patters and conduct, furthering their ability to make informed and constructive choices. The range of themes explored across the workshops offered have been valuable in strengthening the self-esteem of those attending – both in themselves and specific aspects of their lives.  Topics explored range from health and well-being to mindfulness, understanding and managing anger and healthy relationships amongst much more.

Three of the young women who were regularly attending are now in permanent employment and others have built up the confidence to become involved in our Participation Pathway – becoming Young Leaders, Ambassadors or Volunteers. It has been especially brilliant to see two of the women, now Young Ambassadors, having gained the confidence to each lead arts and crafts workshops within the sessions. Others have also demonstrated a motivation to become more involved in the community as well as TRAIN’s activity schedule. 

Young Women’s Group Mentoring Case Study

When a certain young woman began attending the Young Women’s group mentoring sessions, she appeared to be a little lost as to which direction she wanted to go in at this point in her life. The young person had been NEET for over half a year and was spending her days hanging out on the streets with her friends or at home in bed. She was feeling increasingly restless about this but was significantly quiet and introverted so did not speak about it a great amount in our initial conversations until we had developed a rapport with her. As the group mentoring sessions have progressed, so has the young person’s confidence, engagement and attainment. She positively contributes to each session and is open about expressing her views and asking many questions. She shows great teamwork skills and is supportive to her peers who attend the sessions, encouraging their participation in group discussions and activities. We have taken the young women to a local alternative education provision called SOFEA which combines practical work skills with essential education. We are extremely proud of her positive engagement with this provision, as she is attending SOFEA regularly and is working towards her Maths and English GCSEs. She has also achieved a Level 2 Qualification with TRAIN's support whilst attending a residential trip with TRAIN, indicating how much she has developed since the beginning of the Young Women's Group.

 

Young Men’s Group

Following the success of the Young Women’s Group, we have also now begun running a Young Men’s Group.  This has a similar purpose the Young Women’s Group of offering a safe space to discuss a range of topical issues but focused on those relevant to young men.

The group is well established and going very well. Topics covered in workshops through team building exereicses and discussions include: drugs and alcohol, relationships, porn, mental health, body confidence, bullying, identity and expectations of male roles. 

 

Dinner & Debate

Thanks to Greggs the Bakers, who provide us with fresh food at the end of the business day which would have otherwise gone to waste, we have been able to offer a weekly Dinner & Debate group mentoring session since October.

We then use it as an opportunity both for ensuring the young people have good food that evening and helping create an environment wherein open discussion can take place surrounding a topic or question which is set for the session. This helps to raise awareness about listening and talking with each other respectfully as well as opening young people’s minds to different perspectives and increased understanding.

Dinner & Debate Group Mentoring Case Study

In February 2019 a young person came to the TRAIN office to inform staff that a group of young people known to TRAIN had vandalised a public community space with graffiti and considerable amounts of litter, suggesting that a clean-up session should be arranged with the group. TRAIN youth workers visited the area to investigate the vandalism, then took the young people back to the location during the next day’s ‘Dinner and Debate’ session to tidy the area together. Those who had not partaken in the vandalism were recognized, although they also assisted in the clear up. Throughout the session the youth worker ensured to discuss the consequences of what may have come of the incident if the Police had found them, to emphasise its seriousness.

Following on from the occurrence further workshops have been carried out during “Dinner and Debate” on anti-social behaviour, including what classes as ASB and the consequences it can entail, to prevent the repeat of ASB incidents and to encourage the young people to engage in alternative positive activities in the future.  The likely related success of this ASB education has already been especially demonstrated through a number of the young people who were involved in the incident voluntarily taking part in Didcot Town Council’s annual litter pick on the 30th March 2019, exemplifying their new perspectives on littering and motivations to now develop more positive, respectful relationships with the local environment and community. Youth workers have been regularly revisiting the area during detached sessions and continue to work with the young people involved, as well as new young people, to discourage them against vandalism and ASB in general.