James hadn’t attended school for 18 months

James (13) had been out of school for 18 months, was socially isolated, and had a challenging home life which involved a history of witnessing domestic violence.

James was matched with Lee, with whom he shared a love of fast cars. Over the months James and Lee developed a close and positive relationship and would often go for a chat and something to eat, or would go and do an activity such as adventure golf, go-karting, cinema or tennis.

Lee says “It’s been great to see James up for going on a few of the group trips that MAPS organise with other young people as well”. These trips enabled James to gain positive experiences of interacting and managing socially with his peers, as well as opportunities to push himself out of his comfort zone, increasing his confidence.

James had ambitions to join the police force once he’d left school. Lee was able to arrange to take James to observe dog training sessions with a police dog handler on a regular basis, which he loved. With Lee’s support, James was able to build up the confidence to join a local police cadets group, which he continues to go to.

I'm so excited that I finally grew tall enough to drive today! It was amazing!

A real highlight for James and Lee were visits to Mercedes Benz World, and for their final session James was able to take part in a driving experience there.

During the mentoring year, Lee was able to support James when he made the difficult transition back to school. Through talking things through with Lee on a regular basis, James was able to identify more people that he could go to for support, and was becoming more open to this. James says “I feel less angry.”

I feel that mentoring was helpful for James as it gave him opportunities for new experiences, to try new things. I can see that he’s managing better and seems more positive about his future


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