A pioneering programme to help young people get off to a flying start at secondary school is being piloted in Worthing.
Worthing Borough Council has appointed the award-winning organisation Mentivity to deliver a transition to high school mentoring scheme.There is growing evidence to suggest a link between an increase in social media use as young people enter secondary school and greater exposure to the risk of harm from violence, sexual abuse and exploitation.
Mentivity, which won the National Mentoring Programme of the Year in 2019, will be working with two primary schools to deliver one-to-one and group sessions to students designed to help them identify and engage in positive activities, ranging from sport to the creative arts and technology.
Co-founder of Mentivity, Leon Wright said:
“Moving from being at the top of the school to the bottom again as they move into secondary education can be a challenging time for young people who, without direction, can struggle to find their way. We help children to identify interests that will support them to flourish and divert them away from a path that could expose them to exploitation.”
The mentoring programme forms part of Adur & Worthing Councils’ wider programme of work to increase youth safety, tackle anti-social behaviour and support young people who may be exposed to the risk of exploitation. The learnings from the pilot will be used to inform the Councils’ wider programme of work for addressing the negative influences of social media on young people locally.
Cllr Val Turner, Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing for Worthing Borough Council, said: ‘ In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase across the UK in cases of young people at high risk of harm from violence, sexual abuse and exploitation, and Worthing is no exception.
‘Through early intervention, we aim to support children to develop the resilience that will enable them to thrive, and prevent them from being drawn into activities that could lead to harm. We’re delighted to be working with Mentivity to deliver this pioneering project.’
The mentoring programme is being delivered with funding from the Home Office for the West Sussex Violence Reduction Unit. The Violence Reduction Unit is a partnership which brings together local authorities, police and community groups to identify and address the root causes and drivers of crime. Find out more about Mentivity’s work at https://www.mentivity.com/