Mentors needed from Leeds, Sheffield, York, North Yorkshire, East Riding, Birmingham, and Solihull

News Release: 27, October 2017

To mark the start of National Mentoring Week (Friday 27 October): The Diana Award is calling on mentors from the world of work to step forward and sign up to The Diana Award’s Mentoring programme and mentor a young person from their local school. 

Supported by HRH Prince Harry, The Diana Award Mentoring programme pairs young people with volunteers from the world of work who can support them with a campaign or social action project, as well as give them an insight into their potential future after school and careers skills training. The programme is running across Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding, Greater Birmingham and Solihull and London.

Mentoring is a vital component to break down the barriers of social mobility in the lives of disengaged young people. The Diana Award’s mentors play a significant role in shaping the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable.

Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive, The Diana Award says:

“We want to revolutionize the ‘mentor’ conversation and break the stereotypical view of who a mentor can be; reinforcing that anyone can give back as a mentor regardless of industry, age or experience. It’s about building empathetic relationships. We know that mentoring creates a pathway for social mobility and research tells us that without an effective role model young people are less likely to get a job. We invite volunteers who want to transform the life of a young person to join us.”

As a part of The Diana Award’s planned activities for National Mentoring Week, Birmingham MP Preet Gill is publishing a letter calling on other MPs to commit to mentor a young person in their local constituencies.

The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. Their mission is to foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people.


Further information:

Emma Pelling on: 07958 558172, emma@pellingpr.co.uk www.diana-award.org.uk

Social media Facebook: /thedianaaward, Twitter: /dianaaward, Instagram: @dianaaward


Case studies of young people currently participating in The Diana Award Mentoring programme and the support they receive are available on request. See list below.

  • Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award, is available for interview.
  • Mentoring session taking place during National Mentoring Week (27th October – 3rd November)


  • Thursday 26th Leeds Business Breakfast Club Event (Tessy Ojo, CEO in attendance)
  • Wednesday 1st November: Leeds East Academy Mentoring session pm
  • Thursday 2nd November: Leeds West Academy Mentoring session pm


  • Friday October 27th –Spreading the word about mentoring at Town Hall foyer: 11.30 – 2.00


  • Tuesday 31st October: Millthorpe School Mentoring session with Network Rail Mentors pm




Year Group: 10

“Initially I thought the programme was just going to be based around careers, but it has been so much more than that”.

Lanre was a quiet individual with a passion for LGBT rights and bullying. He instantly bonded with the volunteer business Mentors from PwC and Vodafone.

“For me a mentor is someone who is there to guide you, who is there to build your confidence and skills. They are there to give you encouragement and support.”

Lanre’s mentors helped him to develop his confidence and leadership skills throguh suggesting he took a leading role on developing a social action project to further LGBT rights and support charities tackling bullying.

Together with his mentee group, self-named The Freedom Walkers, Lanre created a website, documentary and blog to raise awareness of LGBT and bullying.

But Lanre didn’t stop there. Through The Diana Awards partnership with Facebook, he was invited to Facebook HQ in California to take part in their Youth Engagement and Leadership Lab Event. Here he shared what he had been doing to champion LGBT rights and bullying and met other young people from across the world making a change in their communities.

As a result of the programme Lanre has developed a huge amount of confidence in presentation and communication skills.

“Before the programme, I lacked in confidence, but with the support of The Diana Award and my Mentors I feel I can now achieve what I want. I believe in my talents and now aim to go and study creative media or photography at the Brits School of Performing Arts!”

Year group: 11
School: Bishop Young Academy

Bradley’s mother passed away when he was two. This has been a really testing time for Bradley but he expresses himself through drawing and also mentoring younger year groups in his school.

Bradley’s business mentors helped him overcome issues with anxiety and have given him the confidence to speak about his passions and life story. The Mentors have also helped to raise Bradley career aspirations through encouraging determination and also improving his public speaking.

“The Diana Award Mentoring Programme helped my confidence a lot because I had someone to speak to, they inspired me to keep drawing to release my stress. The mentors inspired me to be like them”

Inspired by the programme, Bradley now Mentors students in younger years in his school. He has since grown his group of Mentees from 2 to 8 people, giving up his breaks to do this four times a week.  Brad has decided he wants to be a teacher. First he is focussing on going to college after achieving good grades and then wants to go to university.  As a result of his confidence boost, Brad is also running for head boy and the mentors have helped him with his speech and given him advice about this on how to campaign.

Year group: 11
School: Bishop Young Academy

Tyrese was born in London but moved to Leeds when he was younger. Every day he feels that he faces a new challenge to find out who he is.

Before Tyrese started the Mentoring Programme, he wasn’t a sociable person but had a huge passion for music. Tyrese’s Mentors have helped him to grow his confidence through sitting and listening to him and making him aware of other avenues to go down with his writing and music such as showing him examples of spoken word poetry.

Since joining the programme he has made new friends and now has the confidence to speak to people.  “People know who I am now. People want to hear me rap. My mentors helped me with deciding what path to go down with my music.”

Tyrese is now applying for The Leeds College of Music and wants to go on to study music at university.

“The programme has helped me direct my passions. I have emailed capital FM to see if I can get some work experience there, which before The Diana Award I would have been to nervous to even do such a thing! I am also running for head boy against my friend Brad who is also part of The Diana Award mentoring programme. Whichever one of us gets it.. we will still work as a team!”

As Tyrese’s Mentor often says to him, he may have been given lemons in life but is channelling his efforts to make lemonade.


Year group: 9
School: Eastlea Community School
Business: PwC

When Priya was in Year 7 she was quite quiet and didn’t talk in class but as a result of the programme she now knows what she wants.

By working with her mentors from PwC, Priya has learnt what she needs for the future and has hugely grown in confidence.

“I have learnt about different skills and how to speak in an interview. It’s important to work together as a team. Major issues in the world could be improved if we worked together. Yes, I have changed and my self-esteem has grown. Last year I didn’t talk in class and wasn’t comfortable. But now I speak in class.”

Thanks to her mentors Priya feels that there are lots of skills she has learned and is not so worried about things, like writing her CV!

Inspired by the programme Priya has organised a placement for herself at PwC’s office for 2018 to discover more about the company and to gain experience in different parts of the company.


“Having tattoos sometimes makes people judge you before they know who you are, mentoring breaks this stereotype and becoming a mentor shows that, for me that The Diana award is the perfect place to volunteer. It has been challenging, something I look forward to each week and also very rewarding.”

Connor-James Barber
Plusnet PLC

“Mentoring has helped me grow as a person while inspiring young minds, such a humbling and rewarding environment to  Share our experiences and letting our brains get picked. I would encourage everyone to give whatever time they can and participate.”

Nageeb El-Hakam
Plusnet PLC

“I hadn’t mentored prior to joining the Diana Award, mainly because I didn’t think I had much to offer and sparing the time around work was an issue too. However, since joining, I have loved not only the nostalgia that comes with being back at school(!) but also the realisation that I am able to make a difference on the lives of young people through an opportunity which supports the transfer of my skills and experience in the workplace towards helping young people in their personal and career development.

The team at the Diana Award have been incredibly accommodating in helping me fit everything around my full-time work commitments, as well as teaching me that everyone has something to give back no matter what their age or where they are from, which has been particularly motivating for me.

Overall I am so proud to be part of the Diana Award family and I would really encourage those from the world of work, new or experienced to mentoring, in taking part in such a rewarding opportunity.”

Senior Project Manager, Ecorys UK

“I have been surprised at how worried the group I am mentoring are about what is happening in the world, especially to other children.  Over the time I have been with them, they have reminded me how much encouragement means to a young person.  If we can continue to encourage these children to share their ideas and work together, they can make such a huge difference in the world and that excites me.”

Siobhán Stevenson
Lecturer in Radio Studies
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Birmingham City University

Interested in becoming a mentor?

Our mission is to inspire and recognise social action in young people.

© 2016 The Diana Award. The Diana Award is a registered charity (1117288 / SC0141915) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales number 5739137.


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