We are happy to announce the release of our impact report for 2022. The Kids Network exists to make positive impact for children and the wider communities and impact is important to evaluate, manage and improve the delivery of this mission.
Between the ages of 8 and 11, children are at a transitionary period in their childhood where early intervention is most valuable. Therefore, we support children during this period by matching each child to a volunteer mentor in the community who meet weekly over the course of a year and so the work of their amazing mentors is key to our work! Sessions are child-led and include trauma informed principles, such as allowing the children to choose the activities they do with their mentor and managing a monthly budget to spend on those activities.
It is well documented that the traumatic events of adverse childhood experiences, such as bereavement, witnessing domestic violence or being a young carer, has significant impacts on children’s childhoods and their future life chances. On our programme, 61% of the children in 2022 had more than one adverse childhood experience which was an increase from 2021. Whilst The Kids Network is unable to prevent these life events occurring, we can provide the critical factors that are essential to reducing the harm caused and lifelong negative outcomes. Additionally, the cost-of-living crisis has worsened inequalities of wealth and opportunity in London with rising food prices having caused the greatest percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. This is especially of concern as 68% of the children are eligible for Free School meals. Additionally, households with less disposable income spend a greater proportion of their household expenditure on essentials.
At age 10, better emotional wellbeing, improved behaviour and more positive friendships are associated with greater engagement in school in later years and more positive outcomes in later life. Through our trauma informed mentoring programme, we aim to act as a preventative measure and support children through these barriers and thus support children to live the lives they deserve. Having a trusted adult in their lives allows for this growth and development in a child’s life and so we recruit volunteers who provide a sense of fun and stability for the children we support. Mentors also benefit from volunteering in a child’s life and being on our programme. 87% of mentors reported that mentoring has had a positive impact on their wellbeing. Volunteering not only changes lives for the children we support but also for the mentors too!
Our impact information is gathered at various points during the mentee and mentors’ journeys with us at The Kids Network. We evidence our impact through data collections using mixed methods of surveys, visuals and storytelling. We aim to collect information at baseline, and twelve-month points of our programme, involving different stakeholders to triangulate the data received.
Therefore, at the Kids network, we take on board the experiences of the children both from the programme and from the barriers they face in society to design evidence-based activities. This year’s data will support us in improving and implementing learning to deliver our new strategy while shaping our high-quality programme and will allow us to advocate for the children to support broader social data and thus, allow children to live lives they deserve.
We are always looking for more volunteers to become mentors for the children we work with, if you are interested in learning more about volunteering then visit our Become a Mentor page and check out our volunteer pack.