"I'll always think in a positive way and not underestimate my skills or abilities. I will start looking for part-time jobs. I feel that now I'm more organised and productive. I'm a confident person now. My mentor taught me how to think positively and I really enjoyed doing the outdoor activities, especially the museums visits (I'm planning to take my friends there). She helped me a lot in preparing for my exams and writing my CV." said one mentee after his mentoring programme with us ended.
Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF) is a volunteer-led charity based in Westminster supporting isolated families at risk of social exclusion. Westminster is one of the boroughs in London with the highest child poverty rate and income inequality, according to Trust for London. The borough has also suffered from one of the biggest hit in local council budget by 32% from 2010-2019, resulting in public social services becoming less accessible to the local families. The families we work with most are from the Black, Asian, Ethnic Minority (BAME) communities, which according to the Westminster City Profile 2018, this ethnic diversity overlaps with most deprived areas in the borough.
Our charity is heavily supported by a large group of dedicated volunteers, managed and supervised by myself and my two other colleagues.
Having served the communities in the borough since 1989, we have been able to provide appropriate assistance to the local families in response to the changing needs in the area. Recent reports highlighted the problem of loneliness being the most prominent in young people from the BAME communities. Economic disadvantages, combined with social and emotional exclusion create barriers to the employability and confidence building of these young people. WBAF's vision is to tackle these from a holistic approach in order to lift these young people out of the cycle of deprivation and isolation.
WBAF's established 6-month mentoring programme offers the young people a trusted and supportive relationship. The trained mentor would provide the mentee schoolwork and emotional support, coupled with occasionally cultural visits, on a weekly basis, and employability training workshop and possibly workplace exposure opportunities for mentees who are at the critical phase of transitioning out from school to work environment. These activities enable our young people to develop aspirations, social, personal and employability skills. By the end of the 6-month mentoring programme, we aim at signpost the young person to one or more community groups where he/she can become socially connected to combating social exclusion - making every contact counts!
Your money is one of the key forces driving this change and creating sustained impact in the hearts and souls of the young people in Westminster through mentoring and workshops!