Young Kent’s me2 programme aims to counter the negative attitudes and social barriers that often prevent disabled young people (including young people with additional needs) from being included in mainstream youth and leisure activities. This is achieved by bringing together disabled young people aged 11 to 19 with non-disabled peer mentors.
The inclusion of disabled young people in mainstream youth and leisure activities is not about charity or sympathy. It is a matter of equality, fairness and the right of a particular group to have access to opportunities that should be available to everyone.
Although many disabled young people can and do lead very active lives, many others continue to feel socially isolated within their own communities. They may not have friends who live locally or get the chance to mix with their non-disabled peers. Mainstream inclusion can help disabled young people in the following ways:
üTo build confidence and self-esteem
üTo encourage independence
üTo improve communication skills
üTo make new friends
üTo participate in new activities
Here’s how the programme works:
Young Kent delivers the me2 programme on an academic year basis. Mentors (aged 15 to 19) are given the opportunity to complete an intensive 3-day peer inclusion mentor training course to give them the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to provide supportive relationships that enable disabled young people to be included in local clubs of their choice.
Disabled young people are then matched with a Mentor who will meet with them one night per week for up to 20 weeks to support them into attending a local youth or leisure based club of their choice.
Mentors receive on-going support and there is a planned withdrawal process which aims to ensure that the disabled young person is able to continue to access the leisure opportunities of their choice without further support from their Mentor.
100% of the Mentors & Mentees that took part in our 2013-14 programme said they would recommend it to a friend.
If you live in Kent or Medway and are interested in becoming a mentor or referring a young person with a disability or additional needs on to this programme, please complete and return either a mentor registration form or mentee referral form (available for download below) and we'll notify you about future courses planned in your area.
If you want to find out more before completing a form please call us and we'll be happy to answer any questions.