We are hiring for Milton Keynes!

Starting Point, which is part of The Mustard Tree Foundation, is an exciting Project that provides mentoring and creates opportunities for young people who face disadvantage.

A great opportunity has arisen for an individual who is passionate about supporting young people who are ‘hardest to reach’ and face disadvantage. We are looking for someone with previous experience in working with Young People 15-25 (either professional or voluntary) to join our team on the Staring Point Milton Keynes ‘Aspire Programme’. This role has clear pathways for progression in management as the project continues to grow.

The main purpose of the role is to provide mentoring and supporting volunteer mentors in accordance with the project’s values and objectives and within The Mustard Tree’s ethos and vision. This is a part time position on 22.5hrs per week, which includes some out of office hours and evening work. The key tasks are:

  • Directly mentor a caseload of young people one-to-one.
  • Assess the support each young person requires and complete relevant paperwork.
  • Match young people to volunteer mentors.
  • Complete ongoing research tailored to each young person.
  • Research and connect with opportunities for the young people we support.
  • Support in the delivery of mentoring training.
  • Oversee a caseload of volunteer mentors.
  • Match volunteer mentors to mentees.
  • Provide ongoing information, advice, and guidance to volunteer mentors.
  • Lead on the running of quarterly supervision sessions for mentors.
  • Record outcomes of young people matched with a volunteer mentor.
  • Write up mentee case studies and success stories.
  • Regularly update the Starting Point database.
  • Ensure evaluations, case studies, and Outcomes Stars are completed
  • Support the Project Director with ongoing programme administration.
  • Represent the Charity and its ethos.

We are looking for someone who has the ability to communicate the values, vision and ethos of the project and charity. The right candidate will also need experience of public speaking and/or running presentations; have a clear understanding of Safeguarding and be PC literate (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).

Please send your CV together with a covering letter detailing why you are suitable for the role to the HR team. Applications without a covering letter will not be considered for the role.

This role has opportunity to be outworked alongside another role as a part-time youth worker, taking the hours up to fulltime (This role is in conjunction with our local partners New Life Church).

To apply, please send CV and covering letter to richard.smith@themustardtree.org

Who are the Royal Berkshire Hospital A&E Navigators?

Friday and Saturday nights can be rather busy in any accident and emergency department, as you can imagine. The medical team are looking after numerous patients with a whole host of injuries and conditions. Whilst the doctors, nurses and support staff work tirelessly to keep wait times down and make sure everyone is seen to, Starting Point have trained, equipped and are running a team of volunteer Navigators keen to relieve some of the pressure by simply having a chat with the young people who attend A&E.

On Friday and Saturday nights, between 8:00 in the evening and midnight, the Navigators are on hand. Any young person aged between 13 and 24 who attend A&E for a range of reasons can have a confidential and non-judgmental conversation with a friendly face. They also can’t be missed – wearing bright orange polo shirts! Whether the young person wants to talk about why they are in A&E, what their favourite hobby is or what they want to do in the future, the Navigators are around to have a chat.

These specially trained volunteers also have access to multiple local services and groups within the local community. Starting Point have got good relationship with organisations across the Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire areas and these organisations can be discussed with a Navigator. The Navigator can also signpost the young people onto these organisations and one of the team will be able to journey with the young person as they access the relevant support or community group.

The service is already proving useful as the Navigators have been able to have conversations with young people whilst on shift and young people have been referred when no-one has been on shift onto the Navigator programme by medical staff. These young people have found it beneficial and helpful to have a conversation whilst in hospital and have been able to access support, whether that be through mentoring at Starting Point or other services within the local area.

The programme is now established and the BBC wanted to come and have a look firsthand at what Starting Point had been up to, what being a Navigator involves and the good work it is achieving. Have a watch of the video below, which shows the report that was on BBC South Today.

Do you have capacity to volunteer one Friday or Saturday evening once every 4-6 weeks? Are you interested in finding out more about the Navigator programme?

Please call Starting Point on 0118 995 2160 or use our Contact Us page to get in contact with one of the team.

Sam (Starting Point’s Project Director) and Tim (RBH Navigator Coordinator) discuss the Navigator programme in a short video below. Check it out and if you think someone else would be interested in the Navigator programme, please do share it with them.

The Navigator programme would not be possible without the support and partnership between Starting Point, the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, the Royal Berkshire Hospital and all the amazing staff there as well as the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Untold Stories Documentary

An honest look at what it is really like for a young person starting their journey into employment.

From October to March 2021, a group of 20 young people in Reading created a documentary giving an insight into the challenges they face on their journey into education and employment.

Through a series of interviews, these young people shared their struggles with gaining access to vital work experience they require in order to apply for jobs. The documentary explores discussions around how at the height of lockdown, many young people found themselves battling with loneliness and other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, as a direct result of not being able to leave the house or to socialise.

Working with Starting Point and Real Time video, these young people were able to learn new skills to showcase on their CV, such as team work, communication and presentation skills. The support provided by these organisations also allowed these young people to learn more about themselves, specifically how their hobbies and interests provide them with already such valuable transferable skills deemed to be desirable by employers.

The documentary highlights the importance of how one to one mentoring has been crucial for allowing young people to find the confidence to actively seek work, and to ultimately find success and happiness in something they enjoy, whether that be in an internship, a full-time job, or vocational course.

Watch the documentary over at our Action Media site here: actionmedia.uk/untold