Mentoring plan to help deprived areas in Bolton

First published in Your Town

YOUNG people living in one of Bolton’s poorest neighbourhoods have been given nearly half-a-million pounds to help them believe in themselves.

Special “believe to achieve” mentors will be recruited to raise the aspirations and school achievements of children in Tonge with the Haulgh.

As reported in The Bolton News the ward is one of only 15 deprived areas in the country to receive a share of £10 million of the Government’s Inspiring Communities cash.

This week, education chiefs outlined how they will spend their £450,000 over two years.

The area has the highest number of drop-outs — people not in education, employment and training — and on average only 25 per cent of young people meet the expected standards at GCSE, compared to the borough’s average of 44 per cent.

The area also has a high rate of “worklessness” and a “benefit culture”, officials say.

Now full time mentors will be appointed to work with young people and encourage them believe in themselves.

A University of the First Age will be set-up through which young people can access performing arts and sports programmes as well as undergo training to become peer tutors, to help other children.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “Part of the funding provided by the grant could be used for the council and Bolton Lads and Girls Club to jointly employ either one or two learning mentors.

“The mentors would work with young people from 11 to 14 years old in the main secondary schools that young people from Tonge with the Haulgh attend.

“Their role would be to work alongside members of Bolton Lads and Girls Club to encourage young people to attend out of school activities.

“As well as motivating the young people, they would also seek to work with them, and their parents and carers to remove any barriers stopping them from attending, whether these are related to awareness, finance or attitude.”

Cllr Ebrahim Adia, Executive Member for Children’s Services at the council, said: “The initiative will help the local community to boost the aspirations and educational attainment of their young people from 11 to 14 years old, and give them a sense of pride in their local area.”

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