Bath charity Christmas appeal to help keep youth away from trouble
A Bath charity has launched a Christmas appeal to help expand its work with vulnerable youngsters in 2013.
Young people from crime prevention group Mentoring Plus started the fundraising with a stall at Bath's Christmas Market selling gifts they had made themselves.
The appeal launch came as the registered charity received confirmation from main funder Bath and North East Somerset Council that its grant would continue uncut next year, after a reduction of ten per cent for 2012/13.
The money raised by the appeal will part-fund a new project to prevent exclusion in secondary schools.
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Director Mike Tichelar said: "We are delighted that the council has decided to continue our funding. It is a tremendous vote of confidence.
"But we are expecting 2013 to be the most difficult year yet in terms of raising money. Our Christmas Appeal is essential if we are to carry on offering vulnerable youngsters the help they need to make the right choices in life. Even in Bath there are a lot of teenagers who need the guidance of an adult mentor."
Mentoring Plus teams a volunteer mentor with a vulnerable young person, aged between 12 and 17, who may be in care, at risk of offending or not in education or employment.
The mentor offers educational and emotional support over a one-year structured programme. The young people are also invited to attend group activities such as cooking, gardening or photography, learning new skills, preparing them for work and helping to raise their self-esteem.
The organisation's running costs are £180,000 a year, which includes staffing, training mentors, running special projects such as a film event and photography exhibition.
Fundraiser Sarah Thorn said: "We welcome any donation. A gift of £10 will go towards the cost of tools for the gardening group to use and £20 will supply ingredients for the cooking group. The youngsters learn so much from these activities and we really see them grow in confidence."
The Christmas market stall was manned by the staff and some of the youngsters involved with Mentoring Plus who also made the log reindeer, wreaths and bird boxes that were for sale.
To contribute to the appeal contact Sarah Thorn on 01225 429694 or go the website at www.mentoringplus.net.