A Band of Brothers is an award-winning organisation that reaches out to young men (18-25-year olds) who are either caught up in the criminal justice system, have issues around drink or drug addiction or just lead chaotic lifestyles. ABOB formed in Eastbourne in 2014 and matches mentees with trained mentors who then support them to make changes in their lives through mentoring and support. The programme includes one-on-one sessions, community days and weekends away (pandemic permitting).
The plight of young men is often overlooked; however, the suicide rate for this age group is high with 13 in every 100,000 taking their own lives. Whilst amongst the prison population, 33% are aged 18-25-year-old. The population of experimenting with drugs is 20%, whilst 40% admit to drinking to excess at times. There will be many reasons why all these statistics are high, and the root causes can be complex, however absent male role models can be a contributing factor to the challenges faced by many.
The charity is supported by several authorities including the police, probation service, NHS and youth services and many young men are referred to A Band of Brothers via these organisations, however there are also engagement processes that identify individuals who may benefit from the services of ABOB. The success rate is high, with 80% of those engaging with the programme going onto improve their lifestyles. Local ABOB Conductor, Nick Carling comments: ‘The work we do is vital. We pair struggling younger men with older volunteer mentors from the same community. Those mentors then support those young men to make the changes in their lives, that they want for themselves. That may be related to work, housing, addiction, family – they invariably know what it is they need to address, the mentors support them to achieve it. So many of those individuals but also their families, friends and ultimately the communities they live in.’
To see more of what A Band of Brothers do, or to get involved, visit: www.abandofbrothers.org.uk