Le Chéile Launches New Strategy ‘Inspiring Change, Transforming Lives’
Le Chéile Calls for Government to Invest in Mentoring for Offenders
Tuesday, 5th May 2015 Mentoring & youth justice charity Le Chéile has called on the government to commit to investing in mentoring for young offenders and their families. The charity’s new strategy, ‘Inspiring Change, Transforming Lives,” was launched in Dublin Castle on Tuesday by the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
At the launch, Minister Fitzgerald commended Le Chéile’s new strategy noting that “Le Chéile has developed the quality and effectiveness of its mentoring and family supports services over its first 10 years, providing greater access to services for young people. The strategy outlines a vision for every young person at risk to receive the right supports at the right time, to make the most of their lives: a vision which directly supports the goals for the Probation Service and the Youth Justice Action Pan.”
Anne Conroy, Le Chéile’s CEO, said that “Last year Le Chéile volunteer mentors worked with over 160 young people and 50 parents, with 2,041 mentoring sessions taking place. We aim to expand our services so that all young people who need these services can access them, regardless of where they live in Ireland
Mentoring is part of the range of community supports provided for under the Children Act, 2001, and is delivered by Le Chéile, in partnership with Young Persons Probation.
Anne Conroy stated that “Working constructively with vulnerable young people who offend is effective in terms of both cost to the state and outcomes for young people, with a study last year of Le Chéile’s Restorative justice project showing a return of nearly €3 for every €1 invested.”
“We’re told quite often that a young person may have never really engaged in any service at all until getting a mentor, and that the mentor is a volunteer makes a difference for a young person. We know from experience that mentoring helps young people build or repair relationships with their family and community, and diverts from antisocial behaviour by introducing positive activities and goals.”
The need for more men to volunteer was highlighted by Le Chéile Ambassador, Leinster and Ireland Rugby star Isaac Boss, who said, “Le Chéile works mostly with teenage boys who sometimes don’t have a positive male role model in their lives – a lot ask if they can be matched with a male mentor to do activities together. I think it’s disappointing that there are few men out there volunteering as mentors when they can make such a big difference in a young person’s life.”