Inspiring Scotland recently commissioned Blake Stevenson to carry out an Independent Evaluation of intandem. Established to support children and young people who are looked after at home, intandem provides them with a mentor they meet once a week, with whom they can have a positive and trusting relationship free from some of the pressures that life has thrown at them.
I am pleased to say that the report is overwhelmingly positive. It is clear that intandem is making a real difference to children and young people who are looked after at home by boosting their confidence, self-esteem, helping to re-engage them with education and getting them out and about in the community.
The feedback from children and young people, their families, and our volunteer mentors is excellent and demonstrates how important it is for all young people to have a strong and positive adult relationship.
53% of young people (mentees) said that their confidence had increased, 62% said that their self-esteem had improved, and 64% said that they had made more friends thanks to mentoring. J, one of the children who has had an intandem mentor since October 2017 said: “Instead of having something heavy on ma shoulders, ah can talk to someone about it”.
And the programme is proving beneficial for volunteers, too. 61% said mentoring gave them a sense of achievement, and 71% say they’ve learned new skills – skills that will prove invaluable for their career development. One mentor said: “mentoring has been amazing and helped me get the job I am in now”.
The evaluation also highlights the benefits for charities of our portfolio approach. The charities we support in intandem have been able to learn from our team and one another and have invested their learning to improve and increase the capacity of the services they offer to children, young people and families.
Looking forward, we’re keen to see intandem evolve and develop, thereby improving the lives of even more children looked after at home. Blake Stevenson has provided valuable feedback, and part of that feedback includes recommendations for how to improve the service in future, such as expanding the programme to children and young people in kinship care and extending intandem into new geographical areas. These are things for us to keep in mind, and I hope that soon we will be able to deliver on those recommendations.
For now, we are delighted to have proof of the difference intandem is making to the lives of children and young people looked after at home. The hard work and dedication of our partner charities, and especially the volunteer mentors who give up their time to support a young person, is really changing lives for the better. For all your unwavering commitment, I extend my appreciation and gratitude.