Mental health mentors thanked

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Kate Cocker, lead mentor and Laurie West with fellow volunteer mentors enjoying afternoon tea at The Hub in Tyler Street. Photo submitted.

A CHARITY that supports and young people in Stratford marked Mental Health Awareness Week last week by inviting its 43 volunteers to afternoon tea. Lifespace Trust, which is supported in its work by Stratford Town Trust, provides mentoring for more than 380 local people aged nine to 19 throughout south Warwickshire every year.

It is a registered charity and began working with young people locally in 2004, receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2015 for its outstanding contribution to the lives of young people.

The charity works with more than 29 schools in the area and aims to reduce stress, build resilience and help young people achieve more.

Kate Cocker, lead mentor, who has worked for Lifespace since 2007, said: “Lifespace is fortunate to attract an amazing group of volunteer mentors. They represent people from all ages, come from a wide variety of professions and bring a range of life experiences.

“They all however have one thing in common; they care about children and young people, value the opportunity to draw alongside them and support them through difficult times, enabling them to feel valued, confident and more equipped to deal with their lives.”

Laurie West, who has been a volunteer mentor for the past two years, added: “I find mentoring is extremely rewarding and have realised that my own wellbeing has improved as a result.”

Volunteers are mental health first-aiders, accredited through Mental Health England. They are, therefore, well equipped to recognise and respond appropriately to signs of emotional and mental ill health.

If children and young people receive help at the early stages of mental health illness they are more likely to recover fully.

Lifespace Trust carries the National Approved Provider Standard awarded by The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation as proof of its safe and effective practice. To find out more about mentoring, youth mental health first aid or any other aspect of Lifespace’s work visit www. lifespace.org.uk or call 01789 297400.