“When I heard about YG’s mentoring project I thought this would be a great way for me to help young people to realise things about their life, to see things with a different perspective and to identify and understand some of their feelings. Because it’s hard as a young person. This is my chance to help someone, to give them the help and support I wish I had when I was younger.

“My own upbringing was a difficult one. I come from a family of travellers. I was dragged between the UK and France living with my half-brother and my mum and dad who had their own difficulties in life. I was brought up around drugs, alcohol and abuse. I have seen and experienced things that no child should have to.

“Through all this trauma I kept believing that there had to be a better life out there for me. Through all the dark times I have had a drive to find a better life. But there have been a few individuals that really helped me along the way.

“A teacher – who gave me her time, listened and cared. After I returned to the UK at the age of 11, unable to speak much English and not able to read or write, I would put my headphones in and shut out the world. To this day I remember Mrs Grey and the care and interest she took in me. I sensed that she had had her own difficult experiences and saw something in me. She invested extra time in me and took me under her wing.

“A support worker – who although only worked with me for a short period made a huge impact in my life. Rebecca, helped me understand my mental health, she was there for me when I experienced my own bad relationships and the birth of my son (who would ultimately change my life). She gave me a new insight to some of my feelings and behaviours and helped me to find ways to open up and to manage my mental health.

“A key worker – she pushed me, she got me going to groups for support, she taught me about well-being and self-care. Charlotte helped me see the world in a more positive light and she had faith in me.

“Throughout my life I have had many people let me down, but the support I receive from these women has stuck with me. Along with my own ingrained desire to ‘do better’ I now find myself in the position where I can pass on some of my experiences to a younger person who might be struggling with challenges in their life. I think back to what I wish I had known when I was 13. How did I want the people around me to talk to me? What could they have done to make me feel more comfortable to open up and talk about my feelings whilst making it fun? How can I make a connection with a young person, but beyond that, give them skills to cope and manage with life on their own?

“Even though mentoring is all about the opportunity to help someone else, it’s also for me. I am learning a lot to. The training has been great, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to increase my skills. I hope together my mentee and I will learn from each other too.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a mentor with YG then please get in touch volunteering@youngglos.org.uk.