Switchback aims to give every male between the ages of 18-30 in London a chance to make real and lasting change in their life, following their release from prison so that they can live stable and rewarding lives. By combining a personalised, intensive mentoring relationship with a practical program, they can make employment a realistic prospect for this vulnerable group.
Switchback’s Delivery Manager Sarah Dedola requested some mentoring as part of a partnership programme between Cranfield Trust and funding partner the Triangle Trust 1949 Fund. Sarah was looking for mentoring to enable her to develop her managerial skills and deepen her knowledge of team leadership. She wanted to be a steady influence on her team and be able to support them to the best of her ability. Due to an increase in the number of people that Sarah was going to be managing within a short amount of time, she felt that now was the right time to further develop on her existing management skill set so she could become a stronger leader and be better able to support the different needs of her team members.
Following an in-depth discussion with Cranfield Trust’s experienced Regional Manager Sue Elder to understand more about her role, organisation and what she was hoping to achieve through mentoring, Sarah was able to be matched with a volunteer that suited her needs, skills, and interests. As such, Sarah was matched with volunteer Mentor Rania Marandos who has been part of many successful mentor partnerships since she started volunteering with Cranfield Trust in 2015.
Across the timeframe of one year, Sarah and Rania had several meetings where Sarah was able to share the challenges she was facing and Rania was able to provide advice, and support and offer another perspective to Sarah’s situation.
Following the conclusion of their mentoring sessions, Sarah felt that she had been able to improve her skills and competence within her role because of her mentoring partnership with Rania as well as learning how to approach different scenarios, develop her confidence and improve her communication skills.
As a result, Sarah feels that she can advocate stronger than before for her organisation which will ultimately allow beneficiaries to access an even stronger and effective service.
“My mentor, Rania, was a great listener - empathetic, reflective and completely understood my job and the dynamics within my role and organisation. Rania was open, understanding, challenging and incredibly supportive. I couldn't have got through the last 3 months in my job without implementing her feedback and advice” - Sarah, Delivery Manager at Switchback
"It was an absolute pleasure mentoring Sarah and seeing her grow over the last year. Sarah is an incredible leader who cares passionately about people and is firmly focused on making a difference through her work. Acting as her mentor has furthered my understanding of the challenges faced by charity managers. I enjoyed sharing my leadership experiences and hearing Sarah's progress as she tried new ways of working following our sessions. I've learnt a lot from all the mentees I've met through the Cranfield Trust and would thoroughly recommend others share their skills and experience through mentoring." - Rania, Cranfield Trust Volunteer Mentor