LifeLine Projects

SW!TCH Minds: Looking back at our first year

SW!TCH Minds has been operating for over a full academic year now, and its first cohort of young people have completed the full mentoring programme.

To mark this occasion, we—Rachel Dunford Consulting—were commissioned as an external evaluator to review the impact the programme has had in its first year. We’d like to take a minute to share some of our findings about the amazing work being done by LifeLine Project’s Youth Development Workers during a very challenging year.

94% of young people who took part in SW!TCH Minds said that they would recommend the programme to other young people.
SW!TCH Minds

What is SW!TCH Minds?

SW!TCH Minds aims to improve and support the mental health of young people through a combination of in-school mentoring and positive activities.

The programme is facilitated by a strong and diverse team of mentors (known as Youth Development Workers), who bring with them a wide range of experience, both personally and professionally, that is invaluable in the support they offer to young people.

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, SW!TCH Minds adapted quickly and nimbly to the issues they faced in order to continue to provide uninterrupted support to young people across 18 schools in the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, and Havering.

Although there were many challenges during the extended periods of lockdown, not least of which was the closure of schools, the mentors worked hard to ensure that they maintained a continuous one-to-one relationship with as many of the young people taking part in the programme as possible throughout the year.

Before the pandemic, the mentors set goals for their young people that were centred around the young people’s time in school. Due to the lockdown, however, they revised these goals and expanded them to include completing home-based schoolwork and getting outside to get fresh air and exercise.

A wide range of positive activities continued throughout lockdown, some running online and others in person in a COVID-secure fashion. Young people were able to take part in various detached physical activities, including roller-skating, hockey, and walking trips.

The mentors used technology such as Zoom to run online exercise classes and crafting sessions. Young people were set online quizzes and various challenges, such as fitness and baking, with vouchers as incentives. Additional sessions were laid on for parents in the form of online coffee mornings, to help them to support their young people.

Feedback from young people, their teachers and the team of mentors painted a vibrant picture of their experiences and demonstrated the real difference that SW!TCH Minds has made during its first year.

What impact did SW!TCH Minds have?

young people engaged
young people engaged
during initial lockdown
young people engaged
in the autumn term
Found one-to-one weekly mentoring sessions helpful

It is a great way to get out there and meet new people as well as being able to confide in people you trust. It is not just about being mentored; it is also about building friendships!

Said it gave them someone they could trust who would listen to them
Said support received during lockdown was helpful
Said that it had helped inprove their self-confidence

It is an amazing experience, with incredible people. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the help and support from LifeLine. They have motivated me and inspired me to do much more in my life and gave me more happiness.

Said it helped them to better understand other people's feelings
Said it helped them better understand their own feelings
Said it made them feel better about their future
Said that it had helped them feel better about their life at home

I think SW!TCH Minds is beneficial; mentoring has allowed me to become confident and take as many opportunities as I can.

I like SW!TCH Minds because it helped me through mental health problems and I found someone to talk to about my feelings.

What are people saying about SW!TCH Minds?

Join SW!TCH Minds

Unfortunately, SW!TCH Minds is currently at full capacity.

If you would like to join the waiting list, or have any questions about the SW!TCH Minds programme, please contact [email protected].

Share on

Rachel Dunford

Rachel Dunford is an independent education consultant with 20 years’ experience of supporting clients who work in education or with young people. She works on projects that focus on the needs of children and young people, and particularly on improving outcomes for disadvantaged families. Rachel delivers project management, evaluation, qualitative and quantitative research, and impact assessment services for businesses, charities and local authorities.

These articles may contain testimonials by LifeLine staff members and service users of our programmes and/or services. These testimonials reflect the real-life experiences and opinions of such staff members/service users. However, the experiences are personal to those staff members/service users and may not necessarily be representative of all staff members/service users of our programmes and/or services. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all staff members/service users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.

Testimonials are submitted in various forms such as text, audio and/or video, and are reviewed by us before being posted. They appear in the newsletter in words as given by the staff members and service users, except for the correction of grammar or typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened for the sake of brevity where the full testimonial contained extraneous information not relevant to the general audience.

The views and opinions contained in the testimonials belong solely to the individual user and do not reflect our views and opinions. Staff members/service users are not paid or otherwise compensated for their testimonials.



Visit our Vacancies page to see the latest opportunities to become part of the LifeLine team.