Mentoring service accredited


A North Somerset mentoring service offering face to face support to young people has been accredited by a national body.

Junction 21 provides North Somerset Council’s Youth Offending and Prevention Service’s mentoring scheme. Its objective is to prevent young people from offending, committing anti-social behaviour and being vulnerable due to their lifestyle. They also work with young people in the care system and those experiencing mental health issues..

An assessor from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations visited at the end of November last year and confirmed last month that Junction 21 had achieved the Approved Provider Standard (APS), recognising their excellent work.

APS aims to support safe and effective practice in mentoring and befriending. Organisations that achieve the standard have been assessed and found to exemplify good practice in:

  • Their management and operation, including their commitment to safe working practice
  • Their processes for identifying service users and assessing their needs
  • The way they manage their mentors and befrienders, who are usually volunteers
  • The way mentoring and befriending relationships are managed and the results they achieve.

Junction 21 aims to give the young people in North Somerset effective and individual support to achieve goals which will have a positive impact on their lives and their communities.

The service matches young people to volunteer mentors who meet with young people between the ages of 10 and 18 in their communities usually weekly for up to a year. During this time the mentor acts as a positive role model and engages with the young person to help them to reach mutually agreed targets (for example improved school attendance ) to reduce the risk of offending, vulnerability and to motivate them to make positive life choices.

The assessor said in her report that ‘the assessment process and interviews with the manager, young people and volunteers confirmed that the matching process is carefully managed and is underpinned by paperwork and good practice.’

Debbie, one of the volunteer mentors, said: “Junction 21 is such a valuable service for both mentees and mentors alike. The support you get as a volunteer is second to none.”

And one of the young people benefiting form the service added: “My mentor is absolutely amazing. I don’t know where I’d be without her, she is a star.”

“This accolade is recognition of the great work Junction 21 has been doing over the last 20 years,” said Cllr Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council executive member whose portfolio includes children’s services. “I would like to add my admiration and gratitude to the volunteers,and indeed to all involved in delivering this incredibly important and much valued service. It demonstrates how an established service like this can really benefit young people in North Somerset by using volunteers who are trained, supervised and supported to a very high standard.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer mentor and would like to find out more, contact Mentoring Co-ordinator, Steve Coggins on steve.coggins@n-somerset.gov.uk or call 01275 888 360.