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Mentoring can help community cohesion


Mentoring and befriending relationships can play a major part in bringing about social cohesion and reduce tension among communities, according to a recent report.

The report, from the mentoring and befriending foundation, makes several recommendations to the government for a wider use of mentoring and befriending programmes as a method for achieving integration, helping older people who feels isolated and those individuals going through a period of transition in their lives.

The keynote speaker at the national mentoring and befriending, conference Phil Hope MP, minister for the third sector, said:

“I have seen first-hand in my constituency the beneficial impact of mentoring and befriending, both for mentors and those they help. Mentoring and befriending schemes play an important part in preventing social exclusion and improving community cohesion. The government actively supports schemes through programmes like the Cabinet Office’s GoldStar.”

The recent conference formed the annual networking event for over 300 mentoring and befriending practitioners.

Delegates heard moving accounts from people who have participated in mentoring and befriending programmes - including a young person in care and a 14 year old boy from Bolton who is caring for a disabled parent. Ndella Saho who came to Britain from Gambia in 2004 with her two teenage children also took to the stage. She was referred to RAMP – The Renewal Refugee and Migrant Project in London. A mentor helped her to deal with many problems including housing and serious illness affecting both her son and daughter.

“My mentor was of tremendous help. Without her things would have been very, very bad,” she said. “Mentoring is very helpful not just to asylum seekers but to the wider community.”


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