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Our 20th anniversary awards ceremony

We had the most incredible night celebrating our 20th anniversary on the eve of National Mentoring Day last week.

We gave out six awards to mentees, mentors, partners and advocates throughout the evening. We asked the people we work with for nominations a few months ago and sorted through almost 300 to shortlist our candidates. From there, our Youth Board chose the winners.

And the winners were…

  • Mentee award for outstanding achievement: Lucas

Lucas took part in our LOOK mentoring programme, which supports visually impaired young people to grow in self-confidence and to thrive by pairing them with a dedicated and committed mentor. He worked on developing his independence with his mentor and discussed topics including managing personal finances and developing self-advocacy. He embraced his learning and is moving forwards towards assisted living – an amazing achievement!

  • Mentor of the Year: Matthew

Matthew was nominated by a mentee on the Access Ashurst programme. He helped his mentee speak directly to current law apprentices and even to the CEO of the firm. The mentee didn’t get the A level results they desired but Matthew continued to support them on an academic and emotional level. The mentee said, “without Matthew’s support, I fear I may have given up on my dream.”

  • Partner award for remarkable contribution: Reaching Wider

Reaching Wider have shown real dedication in getting their pilot programme off the ground. They secured HEFCW funding to build a Welsh version of our mentoring platform and app to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds talk to their mentor in English or Welsh. Their team worked tirelessly to promote the programme, which led to an outstanding conversion rate of recruited to signed up and matched mentees of 98%!

  • Mentee award for dedication and commitment: Jasveen

Jasveen’s mentor thinks she deserves all the awards. She was impressed by her thoughtfulness and dedication at a busy and tough time with personal statements, interviews and entry tests. She set clear but ambitious goals then met and surpassed every single one!

  • Brightside award for dedication to our cause: Heather

Heather is our longest-standing volunteer, having started volunteering with us 17 years ago. In that time, she’s given us valuable feedback and supported current and previous CEOs to build partnerships in the sector she works in, engineering. She’s delivered keynote speeches for us has kept giving back for more than a decade.

  • Mentee award for breaking barriers: Rachel

Rachel also took part in our LOOK mentoring programme and had two major goals for mentoring – to explore realising her academic dreams of studying photography and to explore the emotionally complex situation of coming to terms with changing sensory impairment needs. She’s been incredibly committed to the mentoring process and her messages were reflective and thoughtful.

With over 100 guests from partner organisations, charities, universities and businesses, we brought together some of mentoring’s biggest champions to celebrate the huge impact it has on the lives of young people.

As our CEO Laura Gray said in her speech on the night, mentoring is not a nice to have. There’s nothing soft about it. It’s a high-impact way of supporting young people to make confident and informed decisions.

And its impact goes beyond career decisions: our online mentoring has a proven impact on attainment. Brightside mentees do better in their GCSEs by 4.8 grades, they’re twice as likely to access higher education and twice as likely to complete their degrees. Check out our 2023 Impact Report to find out more.

Or you can find out more about our online mentoring programmes.

Read more anniversary stories

Jasveen’s story

How my mentor helped me to succeed.

Roshni’s story

I first came across Brightside when my school was offering online mentoring in 2009.

Jim’s story

Find out how Brightside got its name.

John’s story

We spoke to one of Brightside founders to find out more about our origin story.

Pooja’s story

I really liked being a mentor: it’s awesome to feel like you’re shaping someone’s life.

Anna’s story

Meet Anna, our Head of Technology.