Le Chéile has published a new report looking at the experiences of young people and parents referred for mentoring, as well as volunteer mentors during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report, conducted by independent consultant, Lynne O’Connor, showed that there was a 31% increase in demand for support during Covid-19, with over 800 additional mentoring sessions taking place compared with the preceding 12 months.
The consultation aimed to capture the voices of young people, parents and mentors in different locations across the country and it highlights the challenges but also how the organisation responded and what new learning was achieved.
For some young people they found the lack of routine difficult and had issues engaging with home schooling. Others experienced more serious concerns with mental health difficulties and lack of access to specialised support services, including counselling and addiction support. Some volunteer mentors spoke about serious at-risk situations impacting the young people they mentored. For other young people, the restrictions represented a positive opportunity to slow down, reflect and avoid patterns of negative behaviour.
The three core feelings identified by parents were isolation, anxiety, and fear but, for many, mentoring was described as ‘a lifeline’ during this time.
During the early lockdowns, Le Chéile provided mentoring remotely and gradually moved back to in person mentoring as meeting outdoors was allowed. The report concluded that face to face mentoring is preferred by young people, parents and mentors, however, remote mentoring was valuable in providing support at a time when many other services were unavailable.
You can read the full report by clicking the link below.