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Midlands volunteer mentors reduce youth offending

Call for more men to step forward and mentor

Leader reporter

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Midlands volunteer mentors reduce youth offending

Le Cheile volunteers with Irish rugby star Isaac Boss

Can you give three hours a week to meet with a vulnerable teenager?

Mentoring charity Le Chéile is looking for men and women from Kildare, Laois and Offaly to volunteer with teenagers at risk of offending or reoffending. The charity is particularly urging more men to come forward to meet demand.

Mentoring works - Le Chéile has seen a 28% reduction in re-offending amongst its young people, according to a recent independent evaluation of its mentoring service, which also showed improvements in self-confidence, hopefulness, communications, and engagement in positive activities. One young person said of his mentor “(he) made me realise that I’m something … told me not to be throwing my life away, that I was worth something at the end of the day.”

Le Chéile’s mentors act as a friendly supportive adult, meeting young people once a week to do activities, work on goals or sometime just have a bite to eat and a chat.  Volunteers come from all walks of life bringing different skills and experience to mentoring.

“For many young people, this is the first time they get this type of one-to-one support from an adult and this ‘One Good Adult’ makes a real difference. Our mentors too, have told us how rewarding volunteering is, and seeing their young person grow in confidence,” says CEO Anne Conroy.

Le Chéile Mentoring and Youth Justice Support Services works together with Young Person’s Probation to affect positive change in the lives of young people who offend and their families through the provision of mentoring and family support services.  Le Chéile recruits, trains and support volunteers from local communities to work with young offenders and their family through child-centred, non-judgemental mentoring services. The services has six projects around the country, including the Midlands which covers Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

Le Chéile is funded by Irish Youth Justice Services through the Probation Service, as part of Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programmes 2014-2020, which is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.

For more information on volunteering with Le Chéile, visit www.lecheile.ie.

Le Cheile mentors with Irish rugby star Isaac Boss