“If you are being offered a service like that, grab it with both hands because it really really helps, it really does help, I don’t think anyone wants to go to jail”
At the end of 2019, Le Chéile consulted with young people across the organisation on their experience of Le Chéile Mentoring. This consultation was carried out by an independent consultant, Lynne O’Connor, in response to Le Chéile’s new Youth Participation Policy, and confirms the organisational commitment to ensuring the voices of young people in Le Chéile are heard and respected.
As part of the consultation, 14 young people were interviewed and asked about their expectations of Le Chéile, the benefits of being a part of the service, and any challenges or areas they felt could be addressed.
Most of the young people reported having negative expectations prior to commencing mentoring, however, they reported that their experience was much more positive. Overall, the young people reported that they liked the relationship with their mentors. They enjoyed the regularity of meetings, which they felt was sufficient to meet their needs. Some of the young people highlighted the importance of having a ‘good match’ and being paired with a mentor that had a similar personality or similar life experiences. When asked about particular challenges, some of the young people reported time-keeping and keeping appointments as a difficulty given a lack of routine and chaotic lifestyles that were a feature of some of the young people’s lives.
From the results, the consultant made a number of key recommendations for the growth and development of the mentoring and restorative justice services.
The report also includes a number of insightful comments and quotations direct from the young people, such as the one above. For volunteers, the report demonstrates the value and respect that the young people have for their mentors and the difference that they can make in their lives.