Inspiring Scotland’s Head of Development and Partnership, Julia Abel, reflects upon the impact of intandem mentoring as the programme celebrates its fifth birthday.
We all need consistent, trusting relationships. For young people who have care experience, these relationships can sometimes be lacking. The long-term presence of a trusted, supportive adult can make all the difference to the trajectory of their lives.
We’re celebrating five years of intandem, Scotland’s national mentoring programme. Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Inspiring Scotland, the programme connects young people and volunteer mentors to establish meaningful, supportive and long-lasting relationships.
Since 2016, intandem has supported young people who are looked after at home on a Compulsory Supervision Order (CSO). While being in care is often linked to social disadvantage, children and young people looked after at home have the poorest outcomes of all young people in Scotland, through no fault of their own. intandem supports these young people to develop positive relationships with a trusted adult role-model. Weekly mentoring provides space for these relationships to flourish.
intandem is a community-based mentoring programme, with meetings taking place outside of the school environment. Over the last five years, intandem has trained 733 volunteers and coordinated 450 matches. With over 3,500 children and young people in Scotland currently living at home under a CSO, it is vital that we continue to invest in them with mentoring support, so these children don’t fall through the cracks.
We know intandem works. The average match lasts 17 months, providing young people with stability and long-term support. Mentored young people consistently report a range of positive outcomes, including increased self-esteem (62%), increased community engagement (64%) and improved friendships (64%). With Covid-19 prompting an increase in feelings of anxiety and isolation, it’s more crucial than ever that all young people have the opportunity to form meaningful relationships.
With intandem, inspiring Scotland is committed to helping Scotland #KeepThePromise, a pledge to embed the voices of care-experienced young people when making decisions about the Scottish care system. As part of this commitment, intandem facilitates a Young Person’s Forum, where care-experienced young people can speak on the issues closest to them. intandem staff are also currently working with a care-experienced individual, to help shape the work of intandem as we look to the future.
intandem is made possible by the commitment of its funder, Scottish Government. It also depends on the dedication of volunteers and the commitment of the programme’s twelve charity partners, who work tirelessly to coordinate matches across Scotland. These charities are committed to matching more young people with mentors, to ensure every young person has the opportunity to thrive.
intandem has a bold and ambitious vision – that Scotland’s children, young people and families can stay together to build and maintain positive, loving relationships. intandem is currently embedded in 19 Local Authorities and aspires to expand even further. By continuing to grow, intandem can help Scotland #KeepThePromise to all care-experienced infants, children, young people, adults and their families – that every child grows up loved, safe and respected, able to realise their full potential.