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Friends of the Children (Trelya)

Professional mentoring for vulnerable children in areas of significant social and economic deprivation to develop intellectual and emotional wellbeing.

Project summary

  • Funding awarded: £489,934
  • Duration of programme: 5 years
  • Number of beneficiaries: 16
  • Replication areas (England): Penzance, Penwith
  • Partners: Schools in Cornwall

Intervention: Friends of the Children

Friends of the Children is a pioneering mentoring programme based on the principle that even the most vulnerable children can become healthy productive adults with the help of a positive consistent caring adult in their lives.

The intervention was designed to work with children aged 5 to 18-years-old identified as most vulnerable to becoming involved in crime, not achieving at school and becoming teen parents.

The risk factors include: low self-esteem, poverty, domestic abuse, aggressive behaviour, poor social skills, criminal activity in the home, exhibits low tolerance and frustration, poor problem-solving skills, parent with mental illness, family history of substance misuse and older siblings with risk behaviours.

Trelya will replicate the intervention with boys and girls aged 8 to 13-years-old who have the same risk factors as above living in areas of significant social and economic deprivation.


Professional mentors work one-to-one with a child two to four times a week (total four hours), 50 weeks a year, undertaking activities that develop children’s intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing – working towards successful achievement of over 100 child and adolescent milestone goals.

Activities will range from teaching literacy skills, to supporting a child to complete homework, supporting participation in mainstream activities such as dance and sport, visits to leisure centre, focussed structured social and personal development skills activities, basic life skills and independent living skills.

The professional mentor uses the nurturing and sustained relationship with the child to teach and encourage positive values which together with the relationships and various activities, exposes the child to alternative futures and in this way fosters aspiration.

Delivery organisation: Trelya

Trelya was set up ten years ago in Cornwall to enable children to break the cycle of social exclusion as a result of severe social and economic disadvantage.

Contact details