Campaign to promote mentoring and befriending is launched

A coalition of organisations calling for more investment in mentoring and befriending services has launched a nation-wide campaign today.

Led by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF), Supporting Life’s Journeys  aims to unite more than 3,500 projects behind a three-month programme of activities to raise awareness of the benefits of mentoring and befriending.

The MBF is asking organisations that run these types of schemes to sign up to the campaign on their website, and take part in a national survey to show that mentoring and befriending provide a real return on investment.

“In these difficult economic times, we must make the strongest possible case that mentors and befrienders are an invaluable resource who make a real difference to people’s lives and help to ease pressure on public services,” said MBF’s chief executive Steve Matthews. “This means getting involved to raise awareness of the benefits locally and to join together to help build a national picture.”

The organisation hopes to prove that early use of mentoring or befriending schemes builds resilience and can reduce future dependency on more costly health and social care services.

According to a study of a befriending scheme from the Friends United Network, 79 per cent of young people have improved mental health and reduced emotional problems as a result of receiving this type of support.

The campaign is part of the European Year 2010 for Combating Social Exclusion and Poverty. Members of the coalition include the Greater London Authority, the Poverty Alliance, the Scottish government and the Welsh Assembly.