Children and young people that are referred for Creative Mentoring have often been placed into the care of a Local Authority having experienced some degree of loss or trauma, either by virtue of their home circumstances (for example neglect and abuse), or through secondary factors (for example separation, loss or bereavement). This loss and/or trauma, effects children and young people’s engagement in education and wider society, depending on their personal resources and degree of resilience to manage this.
These experiences can lead to a combination of multiple vulnerabilities, from low-self-esteem and difficult in regulating emotions, to becoming disengaged in education, seeking attention often through risky/illegal behaviour and low levels of resilience.
This is where Creative Mentoring can help.
A Creative Mentor can be commissioned to work with a child or young person who is struggling, or in their own words, “stuck”. Creative Mentors are briefed jointly by social care professionals and schools. They get to know the individual and introduce creative activities such as film, drama, music, poetry, photography and stories to help them safely explore the world around them, learn new skills, communicate and address personal and emotional issues from a creative distance.
Our Creative Mentors work in a collaborative 1:1approach with children and young people who are struggling to engage in education, at risk of exclusion or social isolation. A Creative Mentor works in what is called the ‘Third Space’, a person-centred, informal, and reflective ‘space’ where Creative Mentors build trusted relationships using creative practice to refocus efforts away from negative preconceptions of education, to identify what it is the child or young person needs to help them become ‘unstuck’. Creative activity is introduced as a practical way to explore feelings about themselves and world around them, learn new skills, communicate, address social and emotional issues, and find a sense of purpose and agency.
Creative Mentoring activity takes place at home, school, and community settings in around 2-hour sessions, once a week over varying lengths of time, averaging 3-9 months. This can be anything from 24 to 30 hours in total, or more dependant on funding. Some Creative Mentors work with their mentees for the whole academic year.
Find out more about how Creative Mentoring works in this blog post written by one of our lead Creative Mentors, Claire Parker.