Worcestershire Children’s First launched the “Back to School” project in September 2020. The project supports children who struggle going to school, particularly after long periods away due to COVID. Tina Russell, Interim CEO for WCF has commended the support of Worcester Sixth Form College in supporting this project through the development of Peer Mentors.
Five students from Worcester Sixth Form College have volunteered to become peer mentors for the Back to School project. Mentors have received training from Denise Hannibal, WCF Education Safeguarding Adviser, and will provide virtual peer support to children who find going to school a challenge.
 
Julie Ferman, Senior Leader for Student Wellbeing, said: “During lockdown it is especially important we engage with children who find it difficult going to school and accessing lessons virtually. Children can find it easier to talk to a peer about the challenges they face and peer mentors are able to provide valuable support often drawing on their own experiences. Sometimes having a friendly ear to chat to can make all of the difference. We appreciate our student volunteers stepping forward to offer help and support to others during these difficult times. They are fantastic role models.”
 
Ed Senior, Principal, said: “I am proud of the willingness and enthusiasm of our students to be involved in such a worthy project. Lockdown has been a struggle for us all, but particularly young people who have had to adapt to remote learning and have been unable to socialise. I am confident that the contribution of our students in supporting the mental health of their peers will have a significant impact.”
Following this project evaluation in April 2021, WCF will look at how to continue the achievements the project has made and Denise Hannibal will be working with education provisions to see how peer mentoring schemes could be developed across Worcestershire, providing valuable development and volunteering opportunities for young people across the county.