The Intergenerational Mentoring Network hosted a festive gathering on the 8th of December 2016 to celebrate the project entering its third year. The event took place at the University of Strathclyde and brought new and more experienced mentors together to share their questions and reflect on the year’s activities.
Project Director, Alastair Wilson, gave a warm welcome to all in attendance and gave an update on the progress of the network. The project has grown significantly over the past three years with approximately 120 mentors operating across six schools in Glasgow. The new year will see a seventh school added to the network and recruitment of around twenty new mentors. There has been interest from three councils in other areas of Scotland who would like to adopt an intergenerational approach to mentoring. Lancaster has already adopted and launched a mentoring programme with support from our Glasgow network.
As the project has grown, we have been able to take on two more members of staff who were introduced to the network during the gathering. Former headteacher at Springburn Academy, Liz Ervine, will be working on research while Jennifer McWatt will be developing the web content for the recently relaunched website. The website is being developed to offer better support to mentors, build our public profile, and showcase emerging research. We will be looking for volunteers to test the website in the new year and will soon conduct a consultation on what mentors want the website to feature.
Alastair gave an indication of what the project’s future plans may be in the coming years. There are plans to move towards being a voluntary organisation that may take the form of a social enterprise. There is the hope that the project will take on a more prominent role within communities through local centres that could provide mentoring on HE/careers as well as providing homework clubs.
Alastair expressed that we will need support as the network forges ahead and becomes a more independent voluntary organisation. So far, we have formed links with a successful London based project.
We were also joined by a Warsaw-based NGO called Association of Creative Initiatives E who support and implement projects to bring together generations. They have been visiting organisations around Scotland to find examples of initiatives and good-practice in the field of intergenerational work. They decided to include us in their visits after a strong, and greatly appreciated, recommendation from Generations Working Together. The gathering provided a great opportunity for the delegation to speak to our project manager and mentors to share experiences and ideas on intergenerational mentoring.
Thank you to all those who attended and to everyone who has helped the project to reach its current stage. We look forward to seeing you all in the new year and moving ahead with our plans to expand intergenerational mentoring to the wider community.