Civil Society Secretary Baroness Barran visited the YMCA Community and Activity Village in Newark on Friday to show her support for the charity’s launch of the charity’s Y’s Girls program.

Baroness Barran was given a full tour of the village and learned about Y’s Girls’ mentoring program, which encourages volunteer mentors to become positive role models by providing support to young women and girls at risk of mental health problems.

Working with social workers, schools and the local police force, Y’s Girls will connect young women at risk, ages nine to 14, with mentors from various backgrounds in Nottinghamshire to have a positive impact on their lives and decision-making as they enter adulthood.

Artist’s impression of the facilities at the YMCA Community and Activity Village.

The program takes a youth work approach by providing proactive and preventive interventions to young women who are considered most at risk of developing mental health problems, with mentors being recruited and trained by the YMCA.

The mentors meet with their mentee regularly over a period of 12 months, no more than once a week for two hours, and provide an informal environment with the opportunity to discuss anything that worries them, from family and personal relationships to lifestyle and Education.

Craig Berens, Chief Executive of the Nottinghamshire YMCA Group, said, “It is a real privilege to welcome Baroness Barran to our evolving YMCA Village to show her how we want to change the lives of young people and families across the region .

Artist's impression of the facilities at the YMCA Community and Activity Village.Artist’s impression of the facilities at the YMCA Community and Activity Village.

“With one in six children aged five to 16 in the UK now classified by NHS Digital as likely to be mentally ill, we are all too aware that mental health problems are increasing dramatically in this age group.

“The additional pressure of the pandemic, coupled with consistent and harmful cuts in youth welfare over the past decade, has left many young people isolated and without substantial support.

Artist's impression of the facilities at the YMCA Community and Activity Village.Artist's impression of the facilities at the YMCA Community and Activity Village.

“Projects like Y’s Girls offer an invaluable opportunity to offer young women in need of protection meaningful support in a critical phase of their development.”

Y’s Girls was made possible by funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Tampon Tax Fund, and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

To become a mentor or learn more, visit www.nottsymca.com/children-families/ys-girls/