A charity which helps to turn around the lives of young men is appealing for more volunteer mentors.
Eastbourne’s branch of A Band of Brothers was set up in January 2014 and has helped young men who have offended in the past, to lead a better life and learn new skills.
The charity runs programmes called Quests, which help the men to work out what has gone wrong in their life and start to implment change.
The programme last 13 weeks and involves each man having a one-to-one mentor.
They also meet weekly as a group and become part of the Band of Brothers community.
There are a range of ways that men from all walks of life can get involved with the project.
Jim Gibson, A Band of Brothers co-ordinator in Eastbourne, said, “We have seen 20 men in total go through the programme.
“We put six to 12 men through each programme and we really need more mentors for the next Quest.
“The Quest gives the young men a sense of what it is to be a healthy man in the world today and provide a community they can be a part of .
“We are looking for men to come and join that community . If they want to be a mentor that is great but they could just be a presence within the Band of Brothers community.
“We are active in the wider Eastbourne community and that gives the young men an opportunity to get involved and help others.”
The charity has undertaken a number of community projects.
It has worked with Edible Eastbourne on a seed planting project and spent an evening cooking for the homeless.
A group of men from a Band of Brothers have also cleared an area for a pond in a school and feed the elderly and lonely at Christmas.
Jim says mentors should have life experience, know who they are, be living a stable life and want to give something back to the community.
He said, “They must feel ready for this type of role.”
The mentors will undergo training over the weekend of May 13 and 14.
The charity has a number of success stories and earlier in the year, a young Eastbourne man who spent his younger years living a life of crime has spoke to the Herald, The Gazette’s sister paper, about becoming a reformed character.
Elliott Moore, 23, a T-shirt designer, started getting into trouble at a young age.
He said, “The first time I went to prison I was 14, it was a detention centre in Bristol. By that time, I’d got involved with burglary to fund my drug use.
“ I spent my fifteenth birthday locked up, I remember my family coming in with a cake. I thought I wouldn’t go back but I did and the excitement from crime only increased.
“I have now got 70 offences to my name and 45 convictions. Which I am not proud of but I cannot change so I tend not to think about them.”
Elliott became a dad to a little girl called Ria when he was 19, joined A Band of Brothers and has changed his life for the better.
Elliott said, “My mentor, Anthony, really helped me express myself differently, in a more positive way.
“He taught me some breathing techniques too which really helps me cope with my anxiety.”
Elliott hopes to work with children who are getting in to trouble at school and is still part of the Band of Brothers community.
A Band of Brothers is partially funded by Katy Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.
It also has branches in Brighton, Crawley and Haringey.
According to the charity, men account for eight out of 10 people cautioned by the police, and nearly nine out of 10 people found guilty for indictable offences are men. Men are responsible for 97 per cent of burglary and 92 per cent of violent crimes.
A Band of Brothers aims to help young men who are uncertain or overwhelmed by their own emotion, by providing an older male mentor who can acknowledge that anger and confusion without advice or judgment.
Anyone who wants to join the charity or thinks they have what it takes to become a mentor should call Jim on 07948978586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the charity and its work visit www.abandofbrothers.org.uk.
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