Today (Friday 13 November) is BBC Children in Need Day - a time to celebrate everything to do with young people, culminating in a huge fundraising show on the telly tonight.

And its really important to us at Youth Moves and the vital work we do with young people in South Bristol, as our mentoring project is funded by it. 

We work with up to 75 young people each year, offering 1-2-1 mentoring and activities to young people living with and experiencing multiple deprivation.

We have witnessed first hand some inspiring changes, and been privileged to walk with many on their journey into adulthood. Most have shown improved emotional well-being, felt less isolated and increased their aspirations for themselves. 

Perhaps most significantly, we have built some lifelong relationships with lots of young people that are now young adults, and remain connected to the project.

We spoke to some on their experience of mentoring and how it has impacted on their lives.

Ashley started with Youth Moves through the mentoring scheme, and now sits on the National Lottery young person advisory group

"Mentoring has helped me both on a personal level and a career level, it was the the start of my journey and a very big part of me becoming who I am today. Mentoring was the start of me being part of Youth Opinions, the start to becoming a volunteer and the start to amazing experiences and opportunities.

From my journey and all the way up to this present day I have made and will continue to make meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life, with knowledge, experiences, opinions and stories much different to mine. And none of this would have been possible without the support, encouragement and empowerment that was given to me by all of Youth Moves staff and the supporters of Youth Moves." Ashley aged 16

'I had a mentor and it was the best thing ever. At first I was no way going to go out with an older person,  but I had nothing better to do. I thought it would be a laugh trying to wind them up and just pass some time and getting free food and a personal taxi.  I was really wrong as it turned out to be the best thing I ever did.

My mentor showed me different things and different ways to do things and really helped me change how I saw myself and what I wanted out of life.  Even now when I look back I have so much to thank my mentor for, and the best bit she was a bigger wind up merchant than me. I reckon every kid should have a mentor as it really helps no matter what."  Female aged 17

Dan today with his daughter now aged 24- he started out as a young person with Youth Moves on the mentoring scheme

'Having a mentor helped me in many ways that you don't even realise at the time! A safe place to speak and let your true character out without hiding behind a persona.
I met my  mentor when I was very young,  and from day one she never gave up on me like others did. I'm 24 now and I know I can still come to them for advice and I'm very thankful. I honestly don't think I'd be where I am today if I didn't have my mentor as I was growing up."  Dan aged 24

'I have a mentor who takes me out every week.  She is so funny and really understands me and asks me things that makes me talk about stuff going on.

It is only once a week but it gives me something good to look forward to and she makes me try things that I wouldn’t do and most of them I enjoy.  We also do stuff that helps me as well as having a laugh, and I really would be lost without it."  Female aged 15

Levi received one to one mentoring with Youth Moves at a very difficult time in his life, and claims it saved him. Today he is works with young people at Merchants Academy school, and is one of our trustees.

"Youth Moves mentoring scheme really helped me when I experienced some major family issues, and bereavement. They sorted me out with a one to one councillor, who talked to me about feelings, emotions, practical issues, and generally helped me to sort out in my head what I needed to do. It was a long path back from there, but slowly with small steps, I managed to get myself back on track. 

I know I was one of the lucky ones to find the help and support of a mentor, and today I work wth young people myself. if I can have the same effect on even just one young person, and give them the opportunities I had, then I will be happy. I was given unconditional belief and support, and this is now what I want to give to other young people.“ Levi aged 

To find out more about our mentoring project here.