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In May 2021 as part of YMCA MK’s Youth and Community work, the Hospital Navigator Scheme began. The scheme aims to reach young, vulnerable people who find themselves in A&E and offer them bespoke, ongoing support. There are many benefits of youth mentoring, these include enhanced self-esteem and confidence, improved behaviour at home and school and an increasing likelihood of making healthy choices.

The Hospital Navigator Scheme relies on volunteers to mentor young people such as Jamie who arrived at A & E with a broken nose after he had been robbed on the street. He was very distressed and was open to some extra support, so medical staff referred him to a Hospital Navigator. His mum felt that he needed someone independent to talk to, outside of home, school or his friendship circle.

During one of his mentoring sessions Jamie disclosed that he felt like he didn’t fit in with his peers and they were leading him down a path he wasn’t comfortable with. They didn’t share any of his interests and he often felt isolated and resentful. This meant he sometimes struggled to control his emotions and became angry or upset.

Jamie mentioned his interest in boxing and other contact sports to his mentor, who found a local boxing club. With support and encouragement, he attended his first class and has been attending regularly ever since. He met other teenagers with similar interests and now they are all in a WhatsApp group chat.

In his ongoing mentoring sessions he mentioned an interest in rugby. A volunteer has reached out to a local group and is arranging his first session.

The young boy said he wouldn’t have known how to engage with sports outside his school if it wasn’t for his Navigator’s input and with the support of the Hospital Navigators he feels he can cope much better when life gets overwhelming.

If you are interested in volunteering for YMCA MK and supporting young people like Jamie please click here.