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.
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?
during initial lockdown
in the autumn term
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.