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Somerset Freemasons give £66,000 to Mentoring Plus

Somerset Freemasons have given a grant of £66,000 to Mentoring Plus, a Bath charity providing support for young people in the B&NES area. The organisation helps those from 5 to 25 years old, with award winning mentoring schemes, providing youth clubs and a programme of inspiring activities. 

Vince Baughan (WM of Royal Cumberland Lodge), Ruth Keily (CEO Mentoring Plus), Graham Puddy (Provincial Charity Steward), Kat Lazenby (Grants Fundraiser Mentoring Plus), David Roberts (Charity Steward Vale of Brislington Lodge) and Sarah Roberts.

They train each volunteer mentor and match them with a young person who needs a positive role model – someone who can take them out each week, encourage them in their interests, explore new experiences and try new activities.

Mentoring Plus also provides professional support for students, and their families, who have been excluded from school or who have a poor attendance record, helping them to re-access mainstream education.

An important element of the mentoring process are the “side-by-side” activities, where a mentor and a young person will perform a task together, such as repairing a bicycle or baking a cake, and during the activity engage in conversation; this can be more effective than a face‑to‑face experience.  It is an informal way of communicating with the young person, removes the formalities of conventional counselling and enables the young person to be relaxed and converse more freely.

Mentoring is not only one-to-one, but also includes group activities, providing other interesting activities for the children, helping them to form friendships and build confidence. 

Kat Lazenby (Grants Fundraiser Mentoring Plus) Graham Puddy (Provincial Charity Steward), Ruth Keily (CEO Mentoring Plus) and Vince Baughan (WM of Royal Cumberland Lodge) with children supported by the programme at their Falconry activity.

Graham Puddy, the Provincial Charity Steward, took the opportunity recently to meet some of them at West of England Falconry where he was greeted by the Mentoring Plus CEO Ruth Keily, who said: “we are very grateful to Somerset Freemasons for their generous grant, which will make a big difference in the lives of the children we work with. Mentoring helps children feel happier, more confident, more connected with their community and more engaged with education. They have better communication and social skills, better relationships with their family and friends, and feel more hopeful about the future”.

Editor’s footnote:

The grant from Somerset Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation

Permission to show all images and names has been granted.

Report by Vince Baughan

Photographs courtesy of Les Pickersgill

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