Jake Cave-Lynch is Crew Chief at Connection Crew and was a mentor during the pilot of our Connection Crew Academy – a 10-week training programme dedicated to those who have been homeless. He discusses the impact that the mentors’ role had on mentees – and the crew as a whole:
“I was kind of nervous to take on the mentoring role, but it went really well. Crew who have come through the homelessness charities are keen to do the job and get stuck in because they’ve got an appreciation of the opportunity they’ve been given. Some of our best guys are the ones who have come through the charities.
On site I’ve seen people who aren’t currently involved with the mentoring programme, but took part in the mentoring training, just stepping up to that role when it’s needed. It’s fantastic. There was one particular situation where one of the Academy guys had a bit of a meltdown. He’d had a really negative morning outside of the programme. One of the guys who’d been through the mentoring training saw what was happening and asked what was wrong. They talked and he managed to de-escalate the situation.
At Connection Crew it seems a lot more, for lack of a better word, communal, than in other crew companies. Everyone’s allowed to get involved and make suggestions, or take a little bit more responsibility for themselves. I’ve worked with other crews where there’s a lot more of a structured hierarchy which can lead to a bit more resentment.
As a mentor I’ve learned tricks to bring people round to realisations. Certainly in my mentee’s younger days he wasn’t living what a lot of people would consider a normal lifestyle, or within normal society. But I have seen, particularly over the last few weeks, his attitudes toward things are changing. And that’s why I’m doing it. That’s what the social responsibility side of the business is all about, it’s not just getting people off the streets and into work – it’s changing their lives.
All people need is the willingness to change and for someone to give them the opportunity to shine.”
This is an extract from our 10 years of social impact report.