Appeal for mentors to support vulnerable girls in Perth

Y Girls, run by YMCA Tayside, pairs vulnerable girls aged between nine and 14 who are at risk of developing mental health problems.

Appeal for mentors to support vulnerable girls in Perth
The Perth-based group is appealing for mentors to help vulnerable girls

A youth mentoring scheme in Perth has been renewed following a successful pilot last year.

Y Girls, run by YMCA Tayside, pairs vulnerable girls aged between nine and fourteen who are at risk of developing mental health problems.

They’ve run a full programme over the course of the last year, supporting 25 girls in Perth through going to high school and helping them make new friends.

Serena Rendall became a mentor last year after being supported by the charity when she was younger.

She told STV News working with young people and helping them through their journey is something she’s always wanted to do: “I was a young person at the YMCA all those years ago.

“Then you’re coming in and you’re doing all the things that somebody did for you before so you’re feeling like you’re giving back to what somebody gave to you when you needed it.”

“There’s no place like the Y, there really isn’t it’s like that family feel that you get.

“You feel included, you’re never left out, you feel like somebody and in one point in my life that’s something I didn’t have. I didn’t feel like anybody and I didn’t feel like I fitted in anywhere and then I came to the Y – and it’s like a whole new world has been opened to you.”

Mentees are paired with a mentor from their own community, where they’ll meet up regularly to discuss any concerns or worries they have.

Chloe Burns has seen the impact regular meet-ups have had on her mentee: “We’ve been doing activities that she really enjoys has really helped her open up and I’ve seen her grow a lot in confidence.

“The transition to high school can be a bit nerve-wracking but she’s done so well and I think the sessions have helped because she’s had that safe space to communicate her concerns or excitement.

“For a young person they’re going to have fun, no matter what, and the natural side affects is they will get more confident and comfortable.”

Vicky Goodwin has watched her mentee become confident enough to make her own friends, she thinks when she was younger she would have benefited from having a mentor:

“It can be very, very awkward and difficult sometimes to make a close connection with someone and you need that support a lot of the time, especially when you’re younger and you’re going through difficult stages.

“High school can be an absolute mess. It can be really great as well, but sometimes it just takes you a while to find your footing. I really think mentoring helps you find your feet before you even need to try.”

The project has secured funding until 2023, with staff hoping to reach more young girls who need support.

Anyone wanting to find out more information about Y Girls or mentoring can find more information on the YMCA Tayside website.