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Southend YMCA launches Y's Girls Mentoring programme...

Southend YMCA launches mentoring programme connecting vulnerable girls with positive role models which has been specifically developed to offer help and support to young women and girls at risk of developing mental health issues.

Working with social workers, schools and local police, Y’s Girls will connect vulnerable young women aged 9 to 14 with mentors from a range of different backgrounds in Southend and surrounding areas to offer support and positively influence their lives.

The programme will take on a youth work approach by providing proactive and preventative intervention to young women and girls seen as most at risk of developing mental health issues, with mentors being recruited and trained by Southend YMCA.

Mentors will regularly meet up with their mentee over a 12 month period, no more than once a week for two hours, offering an informal environment with the opportunity to discuss anything that might be worrying them, from family and personal relationships to lifestyle and education.

Syrie Cox, Chief Executive of Southend YMCA said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be launching this vital mentorship and support programme to vulnerable young women and girls in Southend and surrounding areas.

“With one-in-six children aged 5-16 now identified as having a probable mental disorder, an increase from one-in-nine just three years ago, we are all too aware that mental health issues among this age range are rising dramatically*. The chance to offer that much needed time and support at such a critical stage is invaluable.

“The additional pressures of the pandemic, coupled with consistent and damaging cuts to youth services over the last decade, have left many young people isolated and without essential support. Projects like Y’s Girls provide a much-needed bridge within our youth work, helping to reach vulnerable young women and girls in their time of need.”

Y’s Girls has been made possible by generous funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Tampon Tax Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The project aims to establish 250 mentoring relationships across 10 YMCAs based across the UK from February 2021 until July 2022.

Southend YMCA supports vulnerable young people every year, offering accommodation, youth clubs, mentoring and coaching, positive activities, community projects and giving young people a voice about issues they are passionate about.

Could you or someone you know give just 2 hours a week to mentor a young person? For more information on Y’s Girls or to find out about mentor opportunities, please visit our recruitment page.

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