An open access youth provider making a positive impact on the lives
of young people and children in rural Suffolk

Just42 making a positive impact on the lives of young people and children in Suffolk.

Being a teenager has always come with difficulties, but the pressures on young people today are more complex than ever. Just42 runs a youth work mentoring programmer offering help and guidance.

The internet and what’s on it, mobile phones, cyber bullying and exam pressures make growing up in the 21st century ever more demanding.

And statistics show that nationally increasing numbers of teenagers feel stressed, anxious and depressed.

However, Just42, which operates youth clubs and groups in Woodbridge and villages round about has a mentoring scheme that aims to help young people that are struggling – for whatever reason.

Caroline Rutherford, manager at Just42, explained that Compass Mentoring is aimed at young people aged between the ages of 11 and 18 in Farlingaye or Kesgrave High School catchments who are either struggling with a variety of issues or don’t have support from elsewhere.

“it might stem from bereavement, loss of family, bullying or poor social skills.” What happens is that a young person comes to Just42 maybe through a recommendation from their school or elsewhere and we offer them a mentor who helps them on a regular basis during term time”, she said.

Take 14-year-old Mary for example, an academic pupil with an ambition to eventually study at Oxbridge, who lives in Woodbridge and attends Farlingaye High School.

 “In school I had problems with homework and lessons and my self- confidence was not good. I didn’t talk to any of the teachers and there were only two people in my class that I would speak to. When I was at home I wouldn’t go out, even with my parents, preferring to keep myself to myself. All of this got worse and built up over time. I didn’t have the faintest idea where to go for help.”

Mary, – whose name has been changed to protect her identity – said that she eventually talked to her mother and through the school was linked up with Just42 and a mentor.

“It’s made all the difference. We talked about what made me happy and how I could find different solutions to my problems and how that in turn could make me more confident.”

The whole process took place over some weeks but now Mary is a different girl – she’s worked out what she wants, has caught up in class, can talk to teachers, has a wider friendship group and knows where she wants to go.

Workers at Just42

Four girls having fun playing dress up at Just42

Rosie Evans is one of the mentors and says her fellow volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds – although she was previously a teacher.

She says, “Even if young people have a wonderfully supportive family sometimes they just need someone who is not connected to them who they can talk to. Having an adult who can listen to their concerns and difficulties allows them to work through what they might be going through. You support them so they can help themselves.

Although we are not counsellors we can draw on experience and access materials that might be able to help them.

Rosie added “It’s something that’s entirely voluntary but I feel is very helpful as I have three grown-up children and have seen how important other adults have been in their lives.”

Kevin Woods, who is the Compass Mentoring Co-ordinator says that over the last three years 138 young people have benefited from the programme.

He said they came for help because of home or school; they might be suffering from anxiety issues, depression, anger, stress or mental health problems.

“We believe there are 20,000 young people in Suffolk who are in need of mentoring.With the Children and Young People’s Services in the country being reduced, what we do is even more important.”

Funding – amounting to £12,000 – for the mentoring programme has come through the Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Fund.

Caroline added, “In addition to our mentoring programme Just42 supports children with dynamic groups, activities and mobile rural youth clubs. Just42 builds life and employment skills by engaging the disadvantaged and disillusioned and providing diversions from antisocial behaviour.”

The charity, based at Woodbridge Youth Centre, Kingston Road, works with around 450 children and young people each week in term time, and a further 300 at school assemblies. It also runs holiday clubs.

Just42 workers Kevin Woods, Caroline Rutherford and Jacqui Goodwin

Caroline Rutherford, Manager at Just42

The Compass mentoring work that Just42 is providing shows how important the role of local charities are in delivering the help and support many of our young people need so they can live happy and fulfilling lives.

Jo John

Transformation Lead for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services , NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group

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