Glasgow Live: Charity calls on Glaswegians to help support disadvantaged youngsters

Glasgow Live

Glasgow Live covered MCR Pathways in recent article. Glasgow Live reporter Kirsty McKenzie interviewed MCR Pathways founder Iain MacRitchie. They discussed mentoring and how it’s changing the lives of care-experienced and disadvantaged young people in Glasgow. We’ve linked the story below but still need your help. Can you become a mentor and help Glasgow’s young people?

Glasgow Live Story

“Iain MacRitchie is a very nice man. Within minutes of meeting me, he already offered me a drink and insisted I take half a Milky Way.

He’s also a very smart one. The Glasgow entrepreneur has won countless enterprise awards. He’s helped turn-around over 100 companies from broken businesses into high-flyers.

Now, he’s turned his attention to fixing the city itself. In Glasgow, over 280,000 people live in deprived areas. Additionally, more than a third of all children in the city live in poverty.

Iain’s mission now is to help those kids reach their full potential. He is supporting them through his charity, MCR Pathways.

The initiative to supports disadvantaged and care-experienced youngsters in Glasgow. It’s goal is to help them achieve better in school and later in life. They do this by helping to inspire confidence, persistence and motivation through it’s mentoring schemes.

Launched ten years ago, the programme is now at work across 30 Glasgow schools.  The charity matches kids to mentors who then support them during school hours for 50 mins each week.

 

“It’s devastatingly simple,” admits Iain. “Every disadvantaged child is one adult away from a success story. It’s all about confidence, when you lose confidence, you lose self esteem and then that means you don’t try.

 

“Once you stop engaging in education, you lose pace with your peers, and ultimately you lose out on job opportunities.

“Talking to an adult just 50 minutes a week can help them to re-frame everything. Because of it, they start to believe in themselves again.”

Iain’s own mentee has gone from what he describes as “probably the most extreme trauma we’ve ever come across” to studying medicine. He tears up, not only when he thinks about her progress, but how much she has taught him.

“Mentoring for me has been a life-changing experience and has probably taught me ten times more than it’s taught her.

“She’s shown me what really matters, how to really listen. She’s taught me what trust really means.

“Some mentors have told me these 50 minutes are the best of their week. It’s no exaggeration to say that mentoring impacts mentor as much it does mentees.”

At the moment, there are 1800 people have registered and just under 600 trained mentors. Iain wants to double those figures.

“Anyone can do it,” promises Iain. “The only criteria is that you care, you can listen, and you can volunteer 50 minutes of your week for a year.

“We’ll sort out everything else. We’ll give you the training and we’ll match you to a mentee. We run everything from events to the mentor app. So all you need to do is turn up each week.”

Iain says the responses have already blown him away. Everyone from taxi drivers to CEOs volunteer their time.

“We were told only retired women would volunteer,” says Iain. “They assumed no working man would want to work with a young person in a school enviroment.

 

“We’ve broken all conventions. Men make up 40% of our volunteers. We have more under 35s than over 65 and 77 per cent of our volunteers were working people.

“We’ve got a full representation of this city, geographically, employment status, seniority, everything. Every single colour, shape and size – it’s a true reflection of the community.”

 

When MCR Pathway won the People Make Glasgow award in November 2017 it was an enormous highlight.

“That’s the one thing we really wanted to win,” says Iain. “Because it sums up what we are trying to do.

“You show Glaswegians a way to help and they will absolutely show there is the will.

“This little team has shown beyond any doubt that people really do make Glasgow.”

 

#GiveAnHour

We still need your help to reach all Glasgow’s disadvantaged young people. We’re now supporting more than 1000 young people and need a unique mentor for each. Can you become a mentor? The most important thing you need is a concern for young people. Help us support young people today and make a real difference in Glasgow!

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