Words by Victoria Carson, Engagement and Influence Director.
Being fully immersed in the world of Relational Mentoring is a true gift, and I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand the transformative power of Inspiring Positive Change.
Many things have changed for all of us in the past four years, which has disrupted work, family structures, and finances to name but a few. The reality is that we live in a colliding world, where life chances are often determined by early experiences and quick fixes are providing temporary relief.
Our true challenge is to simultaneously address the pressing short-term poverty challenges faced by the most vulnerable individuals while also seizing the opportunity to pursue the long-term goal of creating sustainable life chances.
Data and Insight are the lifeblood of our ability to build new solutions to today’s civic challenges. That way we can make the previously not possible, possible.
I am thrilled to announce the release of our new Fuel Poverty Report, which provides a deep understanding of what fuel poverty really means – what it looks like, smells like, sounds like, tastes like, and feels like, as well as what it costs. I want to give a big shout-out to our Relational Mentors who are an essential part of our civic fabric.
Through conducting hundreds of frank and insightful interviews, we have been able to truly investigate the well-rehearsed question of whether people are choosing between eating and heating. Our findings reveal that, for instance, families are prioritising food over warmth, while everyone else is choosing heating over eating. Households that are more isolated are increasingly reliant on digital connectivity, making them more vulnerable. As a result, those who are struggling the most, such as those living alone or single parents who lack mobile or internet connectivity, are at greater risk of suffering. In fact, 80% of single parents we interviewed reported that their mental health had been negatively affected by the cost of living crisis. We believe that addressing this crisis is crucial to narrowing the attainment gap for example, and our recommendations aim to tackle this issue.
Worry, Headache, Cost, Harm, Tired, Exacerbates, Stress, Nights, Exhausted, Motivation, Crying, Loss, Crisis, Essential.
Imagine a Relational Mentor who is committed to seeing through all of that, to seeing the individual, to empowering them to take control of their own journey. This person is also the individual’s guide, an advocate, support and the sticky glue that paves the way to a sustainable future. This person is your Relational Mentor.
Somehow Relational Mentors have a unique ability to match people with the support they need. Their compassion is contagious, and they persist in the pursuit of sustainable change. Rather than viewing you as a transaction, your Relational Mentor sees you for who you are and empowers you to take control of your own journey. They are there to support you, providing guidance, encouragement, and the resources you need to succeed. With a Relational Mentor by your side, you can be confident that you have the support you need to create a brighter future for yourself.
And if for some reason they can’t provide the support you need, they will know how to weave you into the right support network.
By spearheading holistic improvements in a household’s knowledge, skills, and behaviours, they build a unique trust and cultivate special relationships that are necessary for positive change to take hold. It’s a quiet kind of relational power, the impact of which is, in time, passed on to friends, sons, daughters…and on and on.
I truly believe in the power of Relational Mentoring to work closely with those in need to help us create and present viable solutions to the cost-of-living crisis, and we are deeply grateful for their dedication and commitment to building a better future for all. There is still much work to be done to ensure that quality Relational Mentoring is accessible to all those who stand to benefit from it. The potential for its ripple effect is immense, and as we continue to navigate the choppy cost of living waters this report emphasises how the kindness of a conversation and a relationship can make such a huge difference to people’s confidence, perspective, and wellbeing.
WATCH: Fuel Poverty Report Launch