Gail and John
Gail is a 34 year old tv producer and former press adviser at the EU. She started mentoring John in 2007.
John is 17 now, but his mum and dad split up when he was 7. He has been fostered and now lives with his Grandad in Trowbridge.
John suffered from a very uncertain relationship with his birth parents which has resulted in serious anger management problems and excessive overeating. This has often put his relationship with his Grandad under strain.
With the help of Gail, he has begun to join in more group-based activities, such as metalwork and cookery, and has built up both his social skills and his ability to contain his anger. He has also embarked on a healthy eating campaign which has started to have an effect on his weight.
John is now preparing to do a course in digital media at his local college.
Trent and Lloyd
Trent is in his late twenties and runs his own landscaping business as well as studying for a diploma in counselling.
He started mentoring Lloyd, who is now 18, in 2007. Lloyd lives with his mother and sister and is the sole male in the household. His mother has a severe peanut allergy and he has twice saved her life. Because of her fragile mental health, Lloyd is the main carer in the family, often cooking meals and putting his younger sister to bed.
When Trent first started mentoring him, Lloyd often claimed to be involved in incidents of gang violence. But gradually, it became clear that these were mostly fantasies.
Meeting regularly with Trent, Lloyd developed greater confidence and felt less need to make things up. As a result of their relationship, Lloyd has taken the first step towards joining the army and has won an award for his culinary skills.
Diana and Elliot
Diana is a wife and mother of two grown-up children. In 2008, she was matched up with Elliot who is now 15. Elliot and his sister Danielle were subject to serious neglect and were both on the child protection register. Both were left wandering the streets unsupervised, often meeting up with older children involved in theft and vandalism. There was violence in the home and then their mother developed terminal cancer.
Elliot was at first hard to engage with and would often run off during a meeting with Diana. But gradually, she earnt his trust and they began to have regular sessions at the local pool hall. Elliot discovered a real talent for the game and they built a strong and caring relationship which has resulted in much more reliable attendance at school.
Leanne and Katie
Leanne is an interior designer specialising in period houses. She was matched up with Katie at the end of 2008.
Now 18, Katie was brought up by her dad after her mum died when she was a baby. She was permanently excluded from her junior school and has had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. She has been involved in several incidents of theft and street robbery.
During her time with Leanne, she has been involved with the cook group, written a CV and helped run an Autumn fair. She has now left home and with Leanne’s support, is starting to live independently in Bristol.
Ansell and Tony
Ansell is training to be a paramedic and is a keen pentathlete. He met Tony, now 15, on a residential in Wales in 2008 and they were matched up soon after.
Tony’s mother has mental health and drug problems and Tony was taken into care as a toddler. Though he has spent time with his dad, the relationship broke down over accusations of Tony stealing. Tony suffers from anxiety and low self-esteem and is now being fostered by a couple not far from his school.
With Ansell, he has tried lots of new sports such as swimming, cycling and basketball. He feels much more confident and says that he now has someone to talk to about things that are too embarrassing to share at home.
Oscar and Hartley
Oscar is a lecturer in computer-aided design at an FE college. He has been mentoring Hartley for the last six months.
Hartley is 13 and lives with his mum, stepfather and younger two brothers. Though no longer on the child protection register, Hartley still suffers from emotional abuse and neglect at home. Food is used by his mum as a means of control and he has been seen scavenging for scraps from the school dining room floor. During his time with Oscar, Hartley’s confidence has grown and he has given a talk to adults on the bike group he is part of. He says that the things he likes most about having a mentor are too many to count!