Potential Mentoring was founded by Kelly Oyebola, Social Worker and Ex-Probation Officer. With over 15 years experience and having worked with some of the most serious offenders in the UK, Kelly knew he would have a greater impact if he was able to work with young people who were on the verge of offending as well as those who had already offended. He believes that ‘if we are to stem the flow of young people on a path of self destruction we must start on them before they reach the point of no return’. During his last position with a Youth Offending Team (YOT), Kelly decided it was time to take the step – he knew he would have a greater impact by working alongside the established agencies to provide some of the services he had identified as missing.
He founded Potential Mentoring, a community interest company in November 2006 to work with 5-19 year olds at risk of social exclusion, offending, re-offending, gang membership, being expelled or excluded from primary school, secondary school or college. All Potential’s services are delivered by qualified paid professionals and centre on ‘behaviour and risk’. Although Potential works primarily with those young people who have already offended it is anticipated that this will change as it becomes more widely accepted that it is unwise to wait for the horse to bolt before an attempt is made to close the gate! He also wanted to focus on those children and young people who just want someone to notice them, someone to talk to. We don’t just focus on those with challenging behaviour but also those who aren’t often heard.
As a service provider Potential works on self esteem, life skills, anger management, drug and alcohol awareness, sexual health awareness and knife/gun awareness and all aspects of communication. Referring agencies include schools, social services, local authorities etc. Programmes are tailored to meet the needs of each individual and include 1:1 mentoring sessions and group work when appropriate and all aspects of communication and life skills
All staff undergo an enhanced CRB security check and receive regular individual and group supervision.