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A Turning Point: Ted’s story of Advantage Mentoring

16-year-old south Londoner Ted was the first young person to come through the Advantage mentoring scheme at Palace for Life and has made significant improvements since starting his journey.

Advantage is a mentoring programme for young people aged 14-21 who have been referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). It provides impactful mental health support for young people by bringing together professional football club community organisations and the local NHS. Also, it focuses on supporting young people with key interventions and assistance in order to help them re-establish aspirations and a sense of connection.

Ted began his mentoring journey in April 2022, he wasn’t in the best headspace and his home life was tumultuous with his mood and outbursts. Ted was approaching the end of secondary school and felt unsure about his future prospects, so was hesitant to make any goals or plans post-school. Ted initially thought he wanted to go into bricklaying, so had committed himself to a college course in that area, but wasn’t sure if that was the path he 100% wanted to take.

His school started noticing the negative emotions he was experiencing and as a result was referred to the Advantage programme by staff. Over a six-month period, his mentor at Palace for Life helped him to identify areas that he enjoyed, and how best he could try and work through his feelings.

After settling into the Advantage programme with his mentor, Gemma, Ted started to identify his own emotional reactions and started to understand how his emotional responses were having an impact not only on himself but on his wider family situation and relationships.

During his 1-1 mentoring sessions, based in the south London community, online and at Selhurst Park, he began thinking about the steps he’d like to take after school. During this time, Ted opened up and spoke about his interest in cars, and it was this realisation that made him change college courses from construction to mechanics, so he could really pursue his passion – Ted was also gifted with a laptop via Palace for Life’s Centre Forward Fund, to assist him with his studies.

Talking about Ted’s progress, his mentor Gemma said:

“During his time on the programme, Ted has engaged excellently, even through adversity, as he had to move away during the school break to support his wellbeing. Throughout the programme Ted has engaged in sessions, used resources to unpick his thinking and carried out reflective time for himself.”

As time went on, it was evident that these mentoring sessions with Gemma had helped Ted massively. In a reflection session during the programme, Ted was asked how he felt about the mentoring so far. He said’It’s been a great experience, and I have come a long way. I personally think that without my mentor, things would have taken a turn for the worst with my behaviour and attitude.’’ 

Ted has now started on his mechanics college course and is loving it. He said: “I love college so far, I’m making loads of new friends and I’m enjoying working on the cars a lot!” At the end of the 6-month programme, Ted described the mentoring as “life-changing”, and wants to continue to be a part of Palace for Life Foundation in the future!

Through our Targeted Intervention department, we work with young people through 1:1 mentoring to offer tailored support for those who need it most. We have a team of experienced mentors who are able to offer young people unique insight into how to better their options and have a positive impact on their future

For more information on our Targeted Intervention work, head here.

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