The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare and pension policy and is a key player in tackling child poverty. Wherever possible, Mosaic has always sought to deliver its programmes for young people in partnership with other, specialist service providers. The partnership with DWP in the West Midlands represents Mosaic’s continued commitment to working in partnership to help as many young people as possible fulfil their potential.
Annalisa Lockett, West Midlands Regional Manager explains: “The partnership between Mosaic and the Department of Work and Pensions is new and I am delighted that in a very short space of time six members of staff have volunteered with us and supported our Primary School Mentoring Programme. Working collaboratively with Kate Thompson, Volunteer Manager, Central England has been a very rewarding experience and following the success of our first cohort of mentors, we are well placed to deliver training to other DWP staff in July, with the aim of increasing the number of volunteers supporting both our primary and secondary school programmes in the West Midlands Region.”
In support Kate added: ‘”Volunteering with Mosaic has given DWP volunteers a fantastic opportunity to share their skills and enthusiasm and to inspire pupils from inner city Birmingham to aim high and reach their potential.”
When asked what motivated her to support the programme, Arden Primary School Mentor Andelys Tomlinson enthused: “My original motivation to become a Mosaic mentor was simply the opportunity to motivate women and girls to reach for the stars. There are too many barriers in all societies that can stop women and girls fully realising their potential and by sharing the experiences I have had I wanted to show the world available to them. There are so many more opportunities on offer nowadays but we do need to shine a bright light on these careers and show how accessible they can be.” Fellow Arden Primary School mentor Kimberley Griffiths added “To embrace the opportunity of empowering the Mothers and Daughters to first realise their potential to succeed and then encourage them to reach for goals once thought out of reach.”
Jackie Hulme, who mentored at Ward End Primary School, shared her experience and commented: “Each week was rewarding, watching the girls who were too shy to even whisper, now putting their hands up first to answer or take part in role play, chatting to them as a friend not just a mentor. Seeing their confidence increase week by week has been marvellous.” Andelys also added: “I think the most rewarding experience for me is being in a room with many different women and girls from all different cultures and backgrounds and having a common understanding of what it is like to be a woman in modern society. Over the weeks you build up a strong bond with the girls and their Mom’s which enables good discussions and a sharing of idea’s, fears and solutions. Some Mom’s especially felt unsure on how to contribute to the group discussions in the beginning weeks and were unsure what to say but by week four they were more confident and engaged and enjoying the different topics up for discussion.”
Mosaic mentoring is very rewarding however it does have its own set of challenges as noted by Kimberley who commented: “Fitting the full lesson plan into the time provided was a challenge, however this was a challenge that was most welcome as it was only created due to everyone’s passion and involvement in taking part and sharing experience and knowledge.” Andelys added: “The most challenging thing I found about being a mentor was not always having the answers. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to the girls that they just have to have confidence and faith in themselves and so much can be achieved. A lot of success is found by a strong sense of self belief and of course hard work and motivation.”
Enthusing about the programme and why DWP staff should mentor Jackie commented: “I would definitely recommend being a Mosaic mentor, I’ve enjoyed the interaction between myself and the girls immensely, influencing each other, learning different things about them as well as myself. It’s been very fulfilling knowing I may have encouraged them on their life pathway.”
So what makes a good Mosaic mentor? Jackie remarked: “A good mentor needs to be able to listen as well as hear, be patient, and tolerant of different religions, ages, beliefs, feelings…a good sense of humour and sense of fun goes a long way too…being honest with yourself as well as to others, and allowing yourself to open up encourages them to do the same.” Kimberley added: “A good Mentor listens, gets involved, never judges, gives advice when asked, shares experiences and is always open to learn from those they are mentoring.”
Mosaic West Midlands are now recruiting mentors to support our primary and secondary programmes commencing in Autumn 2013. To register your interest please contact . If your company would like to support Mosaic, please contact Annalisa.