Children’s charities, NCH and Chance UK, formed a partnership today to encourage older people to become mentors for challenging children.
The two charities developed the joint mentoring programme after a survey revealed that 20% of people aged 55 or over would not volunteer with children and young people because they perceived this age group to be “trouble”.
Hugh Thornbery, NCH director of Children’s Services, laid part of the blame for this bad image with the media.
“We hear so many negative stories – yet young people are in fact 10 times more likely to be volunteering in our communities than regularly being antisocial in them,” said Thornbery.
The programme is targeted at people aged 55 and over who are interested in mentoring children in the UK aged five to 11.
Jo Hobbs, development manager at Chance UK, added: “It’s a real shame that people don’t volunteer to help children when this could be just the opportunity to make a positive contribution to their lives. Older people have so much to offer and can very often be the strong and stable figure that some young people desperately need.”
Pilot programmes are currently running in Inverness, Liverpool, Londonderry and Crawley, involving two hours of mentoring per week over one year.
The results of the joint survey also highlighted that 46% of older people did not volunteer due to lack of time, while 26% blamed work commitments.
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