Back in June 2021, we presented you with some stats from the first full year of SW!TCH Minds. The programme has now been operating for over two full years and two cohorts of young people have taken part in a complete mentoring cycle.
We—Rachel Dunford Consulting—have continued to review the impact of SW!TCH Minds throughout its second year and we’d like to update you about some more of the amazing work being done by LifeLine’s Youth Development Workers in schools and communities across East London.
What is SW!TCH Minds?
SW!TCH Minds improves and supports the mental health of young people through a combination of in-school mentoring, positive activities, and holiday progammes.
During the pandemic and school closures, this involved maintaining regular contact, and running a range of online and COVID-secure in-person activities to ensure the young people didn’t become isolated or physically inactive.
Parents and carers have also been supported during this time in coordination with LifeLine’s Champions Support Network programme set up in response to this identified need.
From a young person's perspective
From a Youth Development Worker's perspective
Young people who have shown leadership skills throughout their time in SW!TCH Minds are invited to participate in a residential course to become a SW!TCH Ambassador. This is an opportunity to lead activities of their own, start their own community projects, and learn how to become peer mentors to others.
To date, nine young people from SW!TCH Minds have been trained as SW!TCH Ambassadors and are currently supporting the SW!TCH team with activities and acting as advocates for the SW!TCH Minds programme.
Brian (name changed) joined SW!TCH Minds in August 2020 with the goal of improving his confidence as well as developing leadership skills. He took part in a range of positive activities on offer—notably football, boxing, and skating sessions—as well as going on trips with other young people. He saw his confidence greatly improve during his time on the programme, both in working alongside his peers and as a leader. He says the best thing about being in SW!TCH Minds was the:
Brian was motivated to become a SW!TCH Ambassador by his desire to gain further confidence. After completing the three day training course, he has lead multiple positive activities for other young people while continuing to take part in weekly activities and help other young people engage with the programme.
If a young person was considering joining SW!TCH Minds, Brian would tell them: