North Ayrshire Council and award winning charity, MCR Pathways, have joined forces to expand a life-changing mentoring programme in the region. The programme has been successfully running in Auchenharvie Academy since 2018 and is expanding into Ardrossan Academy, St Matthews Academy, Garnock Community Campus, Irvine Royal Academy and Greenwood Academy.
MCR Pathways helps young people, including those who are care-experienced or have experienced disadvantage, to build aspirations and fulfil their potential. Through the Young Ayrshire Talent programme, young people are encouraged to stay on in school, get the most from their education and progress with confidence to college, university and employment of their choice.
Young people are matched with a volunteer mentor who helps them build confidence, overcome challenges, focus on their education and embark on a positive future. Volunteer mentors are asked to commit just one hour a week, for a minimum of one year and will be trained locally, before being matched with a young person from a nearby school. Matches are based on sharing common interests, having similar personalities or shared life experiences. Currently, mentoring may be a mix of online and in-person to support the increasing number of young people facing a more uncertain future.
Graeme McEwan, CEO of MCR Pathways, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be expanding our Young Ayrshire Talent Programme and to be reaching more young people in the area. We are looking for mentors to help and would be delighted to hear from local people who are able to give just one hour per week. Our partnership with North Ayrshire Council will make a huge difference to so many young people.
“The impact of the MCR Pathways programme on improving attainment and positive destinations for young people after school is transformative. The support of a mentor is unmatched in boosting young people’s confidence, self-esteem and belief that they can achieve their goals. Mentors can make a life-changing difference, and have fun too.
“Right now, we are looking for 150 mentors in North Ayrshire. Our volunteers are from all walks of life; anyone can be a mentor, you just need an hour a week and the desire to help. We’d also love to hear from local employers who would like to support staff in becoming mentors. Mentors and their employers gain massively from the experience for relatively little time commitment.”
Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education said:
“We are really pleased to be extending our partnership with MCR Pathways. Their well-established model of supportive mentoring for youngsters has already proven to be a real success for a number of pupils at Auchenharvie Academy. We would like to encourage local people to consider volunteering as mentors and full training for this rewarding role is provided.”
Linda Davis, Depute Headteacher at Auchenharvie Academy said:
“The input and support from our MCR coordinator for our children has been such a positive experience for everyone involved. Excellent relationships have been established with our families and they see Stephanie [Auchenharvie Academy’s MCR Pathways Coordinator] as someone who is there to help and support them. There is a real trust and children see her as a ‘go to’ adult within our school. Staff see her as one of the team who has the best interests of our pupils at the heart of everything she does.
“I am confident that all of our children are getting the best service possible and are always within our radar. A brilliant addition to our school community and our Extended Support Team.”
If you’re in North Ayrshire and wish to #BeTheBridge between a young person’s talent and possibilities in life, sign up to become a mentor today!