A busy start to the year for Starting Point mentoring programmes

Starting Point seeks to enable transformation in the lives of young people aged 11-25 who face disadvantage. They do this through providing mentoring and creating opportunities that are continually shaped by the young people they support. Each programme they deliver utilises and draws upon the wealth of experience and skills of local volunteers, businesses, and other organisations. Here they update us on a busy start to the year and give an overview of current opportunities.

It’s been a busy start to the year at Starting Point, with 45 referrals to all programmes since January. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people is becoming more evident every day – with hours of learning missed due to long school closures, job losses, and mental health struggles increasing.

Although each of our mentoring programmes has unique aims and objectives, they are all outworked with the same approach and are designed to offer long-term relational support. It is by journeying alongside each young person that we take steps towards a broader purpose of enabling transformation. All aspects of mentoring are tailored to each young person’s unique interests, aspirations, needs and barriers. It can include identifying skills and strengths, developing work-ready skills such as communication or resolving conflict, or social-emotional support with building confidence or overcoming fears like talking on the phone and travelling on public transport.


Mentoring young people aged 15 to 25 into education, employment, and training.


Mentoring young people aged 11-19 who are at risk of exclusion from school and/or becoming NEET upon leaving education.


Mentoring young people aged 11-25 who are at risk of or involved in exploitation, crime or violence. Having identified a need locally to address rising violence and ASB amongst young people, this year we are launching a mentoring programme that will provide young people with a mentor who has lived experience of overcoming these issues or who is experienced at supporting young people with complex behavioural needs. This programme is likely to be more activity-based mentoring, through it is still being designed.

A&E Navigators

In addition, we are recruiting and training volunteer ‘Navigators’ to offer support to young people in A&E involved in violence or risk-taking behaviour. The Navigators will help young people access mentoring as well as other local services. This is in partnership with Thames Valley Police and Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Creating opportunities

We are continually looking to seek feedback from our young people and empower them to shape Starting Point. Through this we can identify a need or potential opportunity and then use our resources, experience and local partnerships to create programmes or additional opportunities.

Action Media

A young person led production company providing meaningful work placements in a creative industry. In partnership with a local participatory video organisation – Real Time – we launched Action Media in February 2020. The purpose of this programme is to develop work-ready skills, build confidence and teamwork, develop communication skills, and combat social isolation. It involves activities such as video production, logo design and branding, creative writing, art, social media and graphic design, and website building.

We also have additional opportunities such as mock interviews, work experience and volunteering, social groups, and a young person support fund.

Find out more