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Bath-based youth charity Mentoring Plus recently marked its 25th anniversary with a rallying call for more adult volunteer mentors and community fundraising.

The charity, which supports around 180 children and young people every week with mentoring, activities and youth clubs, welcomed over 80 supporters, partners, volunteers and young people to its Riverside Youth Hub HQ for the special celebration.

The event included the premiere of a short film, Shoulder to Shoulder, made by young people in collaboration with the egg, Theatre Royal Bath, including music recorded by young people with support from Bath Festival.

Mentees talked about how it feels to have a trusted adult stand shoulder to shoulder with them and collaborated on creative stop-motion animations to express the impact of mentoring.

“When I’m shoulder to shoulder with my mentor I feel happy and relieved of stress,” says one young mentee in the film. “It’s just like she’s my best friend.”

Another mentee adds, “I feel like I have someone I can trust who can help me achieve my goals.”

CEO Ruth Keily and Head of Practice Helen Goodchild reflected on the incredible work of staff and volunteers over 25 years, supporting children struggling in education, facing tough family circumstances and coping with poor mental wellbeing.

“We celebrate this incredible community and all it has done over 25 years to support young people to thrive,” Ruth Keily said to the assembled crowd. “But be under no illusion, the need is sky-high and young people are facing challenges now that didn’t even exist 25 years ago. Young people are brilliant, resourceful and inspiring, but they need more help than ever to overcome difficulties they now face.”

Like many charities, Mentoring Plus is finding it harder to recruit volunteers than before the pandemic. Emphasising the need, Helen Goodchild explained, “We have children and young people waiting to be matched with mentors right now. You don’t need any prior experience – we train and support you and pay full expenses. You can make a huge difference to a child in need of support a couple of hours a week, getting out and about, doing things you both enjoy like sport, cooking, music or dog walking.”

Mentoring Plus relies on charitable funding for about a third of its income, and is appealing for more individuals, groups and businesses to get behind local young people. “Young people feel more valued when they know their community is directly supporting them,” said Ruth.

“We thank our brilliant regular donors, our businesses like Novia who have chosen us as their charity of the year, and churches like Christ Church in Julian Road who‘ve done a whole series of Time and Talent events sharing their knowledge as a fundraiser. We hope other groups and organisations are inspired to do something similar – helping us be there for the next generation of children feeling anxious, marginalised and alone.”

Adults wanting to find out about volunteering and fundraising can visit or call Mentoring Plus on 01225 429694.

All photos by Anna Barclay