LEONARDO trainees in Yeovil recently handed over a cheque for £22,221.58 to their chosen, Glastonbury-based charity and now they are learning just how those funds will be used in the coming year.

Trainees made a donation to PROMISEworks, which offers support and mentoring services to disadvantaged children and young people aged five to 25 years across the Somerset region.

Over the past year, Leonardo Trainees’ Fundraising Committee has taken part in various events such as the Yeovil Half Marathon, festivals, and regular bucket collections to make it possible for more young people aged 5 to 25 in the South Somerset area to be matched with a mentor.

Mentors meet and spend time with the young people, helping them to access their communities, take part in activities and participate in new experiences, or simply share some quality time together.

This provides them with a reliable and consistent adult who can offer them guidance and support while helping them to try new hobbies or interests to create positive memories.

Each mentor commits to a minimum of two years with a young person.

As a charity, PROMISEworks has raised funds to support the relationship in advance by ensuring it can deliver its two-year promise, so the money raised will mean more vulnerable young people will be able to have a mentor in South Somerset.

The funds raised by Leonardo trainees will give young people the chance to enjoy a picnic, visit the beach, or local attractions, and get the chance to experience calm in what can be chaotic young lives.

Young people and their mentors decide what activities they would like to try and where they’d like to visit.

Reflecting on the impact of the donation, PROMISEworks representative Louise Wallace said: “One of the most important gifts we can give young people is our time.

“Mentors offer their time and experience to vulnerable young people. Encouraging them to try new things and discover their strengths.

“Mentoring is all about focussing on the positives, improving self -esteem and showing young people their value in society.

“When a young person starts to trust their mentor, they are able to start to see their own self-worth.

“They begin to feel able to push themselves out of their comfort zone and try new things, knowing they have someone walking alongside them ready to catch them if they fall.

"We are all so very grateful for the money raised, it will mean we can train and support more mentors for vulnerable young people in South Somerset, helping them take their place in society and adding to their own communities.”

Speaking about their experiences of fundraising Leonardo apprentice Thomas Dulwich said: “Having the opportunity to get involved in these fundraising activities while on my training scheme at Leonardo is extremely rewarding.

“It’s been an incredible experience to play a part in supporting PROMISEworks and the work they do, all while building my skills meeting new people from our community.

“We’ve held some truly fun-filled fundraisers this past year and it’s so great that we get to combine these fundraising activities with creating enjoyable experiences for trainees both inside and outside of work.”

Plans are already taking shape for next year’s Leonardo fundraising for the charity.

Freya Stevens who is leading the new members of 2024’s Leonardo Trainee Fundraising Committee said: “Knowing that every pound we raise will make life easier for young people makes it feel so worthwhile.

“We want to bring our community together through exciting and inclusive social events as we enter our second year supporting PROMISEworks.

“Everyone in the committee feels such a genuine connection to the cause, which is why we are going to put our heart into it and try to make a substantial impact in the coming year.

“Not so long ago we were at the age of those we are seeking to raise funds for, so we recognise that having time out to have fun while getting the mentoring they need could change their lives.”