Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP met with vulnerable young people and their volunteer mentors this week to understand how Aberlour Child Care Trust’s mentoring service based in Elgin is helping to improve the well-being of young people across Moray.
On Monday evening (3rd June), Maree Todd toured the Aberlour Mentoring Group Work service which is part of Aberlour Youthpoint – Moray taking part in their regular volunteer-led baking and music group sessions, designed to give young people the opportunity to come together and develop crucial social and life skills. Over the past year, the service has trained 22 volunteers and has worked with 17 young people living across Moray.
Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP commented:
“I feel incredibly humbled to meet some of Aberlour’s volunteer mentors and the young people whose lives have been touched by them. From chatting with everyone involved in the service, it is clear how rewarding and beneficial an experience it is, not only for the young person but for the volunteer mentors as well.”
The Aberlour Mentoring Service matches trained and committed volunteers with vulnerable young people who have been identified as needing extra support. This may be because they are struggling to make and sustain friendships and are at risk of becoming socially excluded, or that they are experiencing other difficulties in their lives, such as parents going through a divorce or a family member struggling with addiction.
The Children’s Minister continued:
“Growing up is tough, and often young people just need someone who isn’t a relative or a friend to talk to. A consistent and reliable role model, who has only their best interests at heart, can be exactly what a young person needs to succeed. I’d like to thank all of the volunteers I have met today for giving up their time to make a difference in someone else’s life, and to everyone at Aberlour for all the valuable work they do in the community.”
Running from 1st to 7th June, National Volunteers Week is a UK-wide celebration of the incredible contribution volunteers make to their communities and the impact they have on peoples’ lives across the country. Aberlour mentors provide young people aged 12 to 25 with a consistent and reliable person in their lives who they can talk to about their worries and concerns. Mentors also help the young people learn new skills, which can increase their self-esteem, confidence, and overall emotional well-being.
Jennifer Reston, Head of Voluteering at Aberlour Child Care Trust, said:
“Volunteers are so important to Aberlour, every single one of them brings a huge amount of commitment and passion to the role, and it is thanks to them that we can help more children, young people and their families across Scotland. Our volunteer mentors in Moray work closely with young people who have been identified as needing some extra support. By being a stable role model, our volunteers help these young people thrive by allowing them to re-engage in their communities and access social, recreational and educational opportunities that they may not have been able to before.”
“As an organisation, Aberlour strongly believes in the importance of early intervention and the need to support vulnerable young people before they reach crisis point. We wouldn’t be able to do this without our incredible volunteers who give up their time to support so many children, young people and their families across Scotland. That is why I am very pleased to have welcomed the Minister for Children and Families to our Mentoring Service in Moray today, to meet with our fantastic volunteers who give up their time and make a difference in young people’s lives every day.”
Across Scotland, Aberlour has more than 500 volunteers including mentors; befrienders for children and families and perinatal befrienders who provide practical and emotional support to new and expecting mothers. We have family support volunteers who help parents with learning difficulties develop their skills and confidence as well as activity and adventure buddies, drivers and a lot more.
Jennifer Reston continues:
“Across Moray we have a lot of young people who could really benefit from volunteer support. We are actively recruiting for volunteer mentors, people to help us run group activities and to drive our young people to our groups to help them combat social isolation and improve their well-being. Our volunteers receive excellent training and ongoing support and all expenses are reimbursed. If you have any time to give, we would love to hear from you, it really will make a massive difference.”