Mentorship support charity, The Kids Network, has now launched in Hammersmith & Fulham.
A volunteer pictured with a child they mentor
The organisation, which was set up in 2016, partners local adult mentors with children aged 8-11, in order to provide them with a 12-month, individual support programme. Over the past four years, The Kids Network has supported more than 100 children in Camden, Hackney, Southwark and Lambeth. The charity now has the opportunity to support 30 children in our borough. Lina Abdulkarim, H&F Volunteer Coordinator, says the Kids Network specifically supports children who have come from lower socio-economic backgrounds and experienced emotional and social challenges. “Our mentees are wonderful individuals with their own interests and quirks. We try to match volunteer mentors with children based on interests and personality types,” she explains. “The programme is split into three parts; the opportunity to build trust and get to know each other, before moving on to child-led goals, and finally empowering the child to become independent.” Mentors can help mentees with everyday achievable goals, confidence building, as well as supporting them with more serious challenges, such bullying, mental health concerns, or the transition into secondary school.
A group of volunteers and children pose together (image taken before the pandemic)
“All our volunteers take part in mandatory training to support the child’s needs. We make sure that everything is personalised for the child, so they can thrive on the programme. Mentors and mentees take part in a wide range of activities throughout the year, and the charity says it has built a community. “It’s an incredibly supportive network. We also have celebrations at the end of every partnership to mark the achievements. All the children involved in the programme have enjoyed their time with the mentor and built their confidence over the course of the year. We also host monthly mentor meet ups (previously in person, now virtually) to help foster the peer support network within the mentor community, where they can share wins, failures and seek advice from one another."
The organisation is now seeking to partner with local primary schools to support children in Hammersmith & Fulham. They are also looking for volunteers, who are able to commit to a one-year mentorship programme. No particular experience is necessary, besides a sense of passion and commitment to support the next generation of Londoners.. All training will be provided by the charity, including safeguarding and child protection. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Lina through the website.