Raising Aspirations is an innovative community mentoring project, which matches volunteers from local businesses and community networks to provide support to young people.
Somerset Community Foundation launched the project in 2011 with support from the Ninesquare Trust.
We began work at Crispin School in Street and, since its launch, we have recruited and trained over 120 mentors to support over 100 young people there.
With the support of their mentors, young people gain improved self-esteem, confidence, and increased aspirations for their future.
One student said "I used to care so much what people thought of me that I would take time off sick from school as I was so worried. Mentoring has given me so much confidence, encouraged me to put myself forward for things and try things I've never done before."
Another said "Mentoring has been a life changing experience. It has moulded us into confident people. Thank you".
With the support of Taunton Deane Borough Council, and as a result of this success, the scheme is now extended to Taunton Academy and Court Fields School in Wellington and 40 mentors are now supporting students in Year 7 (age 11) of each school.
We are working with researchers from the University of the West of England to evaluate the impact of the programme. Researchers are tracking students’ aspirations and achievements over the years approaching their GCSEs. Year 2 and Year 3 Interim results reveal an increase in the young people’s self-esteem and perceptions of being supported after two and three years of mentoring.
If you live or work in and around Street, Taunton or Wellington and would like to find out more about being a Raising Aspirations mentor please contact Jenny Perez on 01749 344 949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our ideal mentor has life experience to share, patience, and a sense of humour, and is committed to supporting the next generation of young people to succeed. On average, mentors spend a few hours a month supporting their mentee and appointments are arranged at a mutually convenient time. So if you want to make a difference to Somerset’s future, please do get in touch.