Mentoring foundation helps kids to transform their lives

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:02 21 January 2019

Dave and Sam. Picture: Jack Hazeldine Foundation

Dave and Sam. Picture: Jack Hazeldine Foundation

Jack Hazeldine Foundation

Eleanor Young

eleanor.young@archant.co.uk

‘It saved my life’ – what started out as a grandfather supporting his grandson has now transformed into a charity supporting dozens of North Somerset children.

The Jack Hazeldine Foundation (JHF) was set up by Ben Hazeldine and his family five years ago using the money collected at his grandfather’s funeral.

Ben Hazeldine started the foundation using money from his grandfather's funeral collection. Picture: Jack Hazeldine FoundationBen Hazeldine started the foundation using money from his grandfather's funeral collection. Picture: Jack Hazeldine Foundation

Ben was the first child to receive support through what would eventually become the foundation.

A troubled youngster, Ben worked closely with his grandfather who became a powerful role model for him.

Ben, aged 33, said: “My granddad was my rock and my role model. He was quite quiet but was always there to listen and take an ear.

“I wasn’t naughty at school but I was not always engaged apart from through sport and he always found a way to get me on track.

Sam and Dave walking along Clevedon Pier. Picture: Jack Hazeldine FoundationSam and Dave walking along Clevedon Pier. Picture: Jack Hazeldine Foundation

“He knew what made me tick. He listened to me and knew what was important to me and how to get through to me.

“I would see him most weekends from when I was five years old until I was 18 or 19.

“There aren’t many children as lucky as me to have a role model so that is where it came from.”

JHF specialises in youth mentoring and working with disengaged and disaffected youngsters to get them back on the straight and narrow.

The aim is to pair an adult with a child who becomes a mentor, friend and companion to offer them support in school and home life.

The Clevedon charity’s managing director, Pearl Cross, told the Times: “Our mentors engage with young people who have struggled to cope with adverse childhood experiences.

“They deliver one-to-one sessions tailored to the needs of each individual within a school environment and elsewhere in the community.

“We help them build self-esteem, confidence and resilience so they can deal with the issues which impact their everyday lives and look forward to a positive future.

Managing director Pearl Cross. Picture: Jack Hazeldine FoundationManaging director Pearl Cross. Picture: Jack Hazeldine Foundation

“Some of our mentors and mentees have been working together for years to strive to make huge improvements to their lives.”

JHF has eight mentors at the moment, with all mentoring done one-to-one but the charity is looking to investigate group work.

Most of the mentors are former teachers, police officers, sports coaches and social workers who are committed to helping young people develop important lifestyle skills by providing a positive influence in their lives.

For 10-year-old Sam, this support has had a crucial impact on his life to help him cope with his anger and improve his education and his future.

The Jack Hazeldine FoundationThe Jack Hazeldine Foundation

Through the JHF, Sam was partnered with Dave Carey, aged 33, who meets with him regularly both in school and after school.

Sam, who is in year six, told the Times: “When I was at a different school, if I struggled and left the classroom, no-one would encourage me to get back in there, they would tell me to calm down quietly, but when Simon, my old mentor, and Dave came in they would urge me to get back to it.

“It has made a huge difference, I think I put more effort into my work and get more out of it.

“I can see a future for myself now, I can see myself doing well in my exams and getting a good job – the JHF has saved my life.”

Sam and Dave walking along Clevedon Pier. Picture: Jack Hazeldine FoundationSam and Dave walking along Clevedon Pier. Picture: Jack Hazeldine Foundation

Dave added: “At the moment we are together every day and we will just see how it goes.

“If he needs the support then the support will be there for him.

“I was coaching with Ben and when the foundation grew they started looking for more mentors.

“I had never considered it before but I asked some questions and spoke to the team and now I would not look back.

“There are good days and bad ones with every job but the good days make it worthwhile.”

Ben said he was ‘overwhelmed’ to see how the foundation had helped people like Sam.

Sam’s parents said they were ‘extremely grateful’ for the help and support he received.

They said: “He looks to his support as an ally rather than a figure of authority enabling him to feel he is understood.

“Sam is supported to become the best person he can possibly be each and every day.”

The foundation now hopes to recruit more mentors and support more youngsters across North Somerset.

To make a referral, visit www.thejhf.org or call 01275 873962.

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