Police and partner organisations bring athlete mentoring scheme to St George’s School

Former international fencer for Great Britain and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Claire Bennett at St George's School

Youngsters at a Thanet school are to benefit from a new Kent Police-led project which will involve a British athlete supporting students as they take part in a personal development and wellbeing programme and look at ways to improve their communities.

The initiative was put together by Sergeant Sheena Maclean-Bell from Thanet’s Community Safety Unit, who is aiming to reduce the risk of young people becoming involved with crime and instead give them the confidence and skills to have a brighter future.

Her efforts have resulted in partner agencies including Southeastern, Kent Community Foundation and Virtual School Kent, offering funding and support to introduce a new programme to the school.

The programme at St George’s School in Broadstairs has an athlete assigned from Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to work with the children as a mentor.

Former international fencer for Great Britain and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Claire Bennett will support two groups of year 8 and 9 pupils from October to June as they look to make a difference in their local environment.

The charity delivers programmes designed to boost young people’s wellbeing, confidence, resilience and self-esteem so they can fulfil their true potential. It is the first time a police force has teamed up with the Trust to deliver the programme which offers mentoring sessions and hands-on practical work in the community. The students will be looking at Thanet and what can be done to benefit the area and potentially help to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

Child Centred Policing Team

Sgt Maclean-Bell, who heads up the newly-established Child Centred Policing team in the district, was aware of the Trust’s work and wanted to introduce one of their programmes into an isle school.

She said: “A priority for Kent Police is to keep children safe and as a team we focus on the welfare of vulnerable young people. We work with schools and organisations to provide intervention and support those who might find themselves at risk from becoming involved in crime.

“The work that will be beneficial to the community will completely depend on the children. They will be asked to come up with their own ideas of a social action project, such as tidying up an area to reduce the risk of ASB. Supported by the trust and our officers, they will work in teams to understand how their actions can bring about positive changes and over the school year will aim to bring that plan to fruition.

“I am looking forward to my team working with the young people at St George’s School and our partners and seeing what ideas the pupils will have that will benefit the wider community.”

‘Pride and joy’

Claire Bennett, who will be mentoring the Thanet pupils, said: “We are so lucky to be able to go on a journey with a young person and support them to achieve their goals and ambitions. It fills me with pride and joy to see the positive impact athlete mentors have on the lives of young people and the best bit is following their progress and success in their lives beyond each programme.”


Head teacher Adam Mirams added: “We are hugely grateful for being given the opportunity to work in collaboration with Southeastern, Kent Police and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to take part in a mentoring scheme that will support with the personal development of some of our pupils.

“This scheme is an indication of the ability and desire of organisations to work together for the development of young people in the area and we hope that this will prove to be the start of initiatives that will touch many more pupils over time.

‘We are hugely privileged as a school to work with such dynamic and forward thinking organisations for the benefit of young people.”