The Island is a registered charity that was registered in August 2007 and became active in 2008. It offers support to 8 – 13 year-olds in York who may be struggling to cope at home, at school, or in the wider community, or who are experiencing difficult transitions in their lives.

The Island links these young people with volunteer mentors with whom they meet on a weekly basis over the course of a year (or longer if required). This allows them to develop supportive, ongoing relationships, whilst also providing them with the undivided attention and ‘islands of space and time’ they need to increase their confidence and self-esteem, participate in worthwhile recreational activities, and move forward in their lives.

Our amazing team works hard to ensure that our charity is able to deliver an outstanding mentoring to the children and young people who use our services.

Meet the Team

Nigel Poulton, Mentoring Co-ordinator

A qualified Social Worker, Nigel joined The Island in 2009 as the Mentoring Co-ordinator. He has extensive experience in working with children and young people and is passionate about our mentoring programmes, which are transforming the lives of those we work with, their families and communities.

Emma Bewlay, Training and Mentoring Officer

Emma has worked in the Youth sector since 2006. She has first-hand experience in Mentoring young people as she has previously been a Volunteer Mentor.

Her Mentoring Officer role provides her with the opportunity to supervise mentors, but also still have active engagement with families and young people. She also developed the North and South Island Groups, which has given her and the team the opportunity to engage young people earlier and offer some lightweight informal support whilst they wait for allocation of a one to one mentor.

Grace Holland, Youth Club Co-Ordinator

Grace oversees the coordination of our youth groups and boy and girl groups. She is currently studying Counselling, Coaching and Mentoring at York St. John University and has worked as a Volunteer Mentor at The Island since 2016.

She has extensive experience in working with children and young people, especially those with mental ill-health and learning and physical disabilities.

Our Patrons

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

Our patron is the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. The Archbishop has a huge heart for children and young people, their rights and their well-being. From 1997 to 1999, he acted as Adviser to the Stephen Lawrence Judicial Inquiry and chaired the Damilola Taylor Murder Review. Sentamu also campaigned against guns, knives, drugs and gangs throughout the Midlands after the killings of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in 2003. In 2004, he became President of Youth for Christ, and founded the Archbishop of York Youth Trust in 2009.

Professor Bob Garvey, York St. John University

Professor Bob Garvey holds the chair in Business Education at York St. John University Business School. He is one of Europe’s leading academic practitioners of mentoring and coaching. Bob has extensive business experience across many sectors. This includes large and small business, the public and voluntary sectors. He has developed many training films and contributed to international Webinars and developed interactive training materials. Bob currently mentors a number of people from a variety of organisations and walks of life. Bob has published many papers on the practice of coaching and mentoring in a variety of journals and is a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. He regularly contributes to the professional journal ‘Coaching at Work’ and in July 2014 ‘Coaching at Work’ awarded him a lifetime achievement award for contributions to mentoring.

Anne Wafula Strike, MBE

Anne Wafula Strike MBE was the first wheelchair racer from East Africa to compete at the Paralympics (in Athens, 2004) and she was a member of BBC and ITV television commentary teams at the London 2012 Paralympics. She has been recognized by Her Majesty the Queen for her athletic accomplishments and involvement with a range of charities for those with disabilities, and, is a Board Member of UK Athletics. Anne is a motivational speaker and has spoken as an advocate for those with disabilities, in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and recently made her debut with the Graeae Theatre Company’s show at the Royal Festival Hall. Her autobiography, In My Dreams I Dance (2010, Harper Collins), was written after winning a BBC prize for individuals with extraordinary life stories.

Professor Karen Stanton, York St. John University Vice Chancellor

Professor Karen Stanton has held numerous positions across the country, including at Glasgow Caledonian, Nottingham, Birmingham and Sheffield Hallam. Prior to her roles within higher education, Professor Stanton worked as a Researcher for the Home Office and at the BBC. Professor Stanton is passionate about children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds and works tirelessly to encourage young people to develop relevant digital and enterprise skills which are going to be vital for decades to come.

Our Trustees

Keith Blanshard, Chair
Bob Purrington, Secretary
David Fletcher, Honorary Treasurer
Andy Herbert, Trustee
Jo Wraith, Trustee
Jessica Haslam, Trustee
Geoff Dodd, Trustee
Geraldine Casswell, Trustee
Joanne Thompson, Trustee
Antonia Moore, Trustee
Dr Poppy Nash, Trustee