Making a difference for our young people

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Phoenix ADHD Project Youth Mentoring Programme, which is funded by BBC Children in Need, has now completed its first year.

. After the recruitment and training of the first set of volunteers the mentoring commenced in March 2013 and has seen a marked improvement in the lives of the young people it is supporting and their families.

The Project helps young people aged 8 to 20 who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or are being assessed for ADHD overcome difficulties they may be facing, empowering them to reach their full potential.

The programme, for people aged 12 to 18, was developed at the request of the young people who suggested the need for one-to-one support and guidance.

Naomi McClelland, the Youth Mentor Coordinator explained, “Undiagnosed ADHD can have a negative impact on the lives of children and young people and their families.

“However once diagnosed, with the correct level of support, young people with ADHD have the ability to become exceptional individuals. Therefore it is essential that all those who are involved with children and young people are made aware of how to recognise the condition and provide the correct level of support required.

“As young people with ADHD enter adolescence they are at significantly higher risk than their peers of dropping out of school, engaging in antisocial and high risk behaviours such as drug taking

“ By providing the Mentoring Programme the Project aims to empower these ‘at risk’ individuals so they can see themselves as capable and competent, realising and reaching their full potential.”

The mentoring relationship focuses on supporting the young person’s individual needs and helping them to set and achieve personal goals.

Each young person on the project is matched with a volunteer mentor who will meet with them once a week for a minimum of two hours.

The programme offers young people with ADHD the opportunity to build appropriate, positive relationships with a mentor who can support them in overcoming the challenges they face and assist them in achieving positive outcomes.

A Phoenix spokeserson added: “We are currently seeking volunteers interested in making a positive impact on a young person’s life through our mentoring programme.

“We are particularly looking for male volunteers, as ADHD affects more males than females. Volunteers will receive training and will have the opportunity to gain an OCN Level 2 qualification in Youth Mentoring.

In conjunction with the one-to-one mentoring, group activities are organised to encourage the development of positive peer networks, team skills and developing confidence within group interactions.

Anyone wanting more information should contact Naomi McClelland, Youth Mentoring Coordinator on 028 7000 2050. email naomi@phoenixadhdproject.org

The Phoenix ADHD Project is based at Ballycastle Road in Coleraine.