These four mentors have put in hours of time, energy and brain power over the last five months working towards ensuring that Jamie’s Farm is an inclusive, welcoming and warm place for VI young people.

We’d like to give them each an enormous shoutout to thank them for everything they’ve done.

A message from Elin, LOOK’s Volunteer Development Coordinator.

“I’m so chuffed to have worked with you all on this pilot project!

We worked really well as a team; you all brought your own skills and strengths that complemented and supported one another.

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of mentors to support us and the young people on this new adventure.

I hope you’re able to take away pride in how much impact you’ve had on these young people in just five days, new friendships with your fellow mentors, and lots of memories full of fun and laughter!

To Ellie for your resilience, openness and your strength, plus the sense of fun you bring to everything you do. You are an impeccable role model showing us how it’s possible to advocate for what you need in a dignified and considered way.

To Naz for your calm and energising presence, your openness and honesty when speaking about yourself and to others, and your empathy and care for everyone in the group. You showed us all the value in taking care of yourself so that you can be your best for others too.

To Daniel for really adapting to the young people’s needs and showing others how to do the same. You are an excellent facilitator able to draw others out of their shell and knowing when to step back and let the young people shine. You demonstrated beautifully what it means to be truly young person lead.

To Kombo for your radiant energy bringing so much positivity and laughter to the group, but also for having that intuition for when sensitivity and compassion are required as well. You are an excellent example of upholding really clear boundaries with the young people in a very warm and sensitive way.

Meet the team.

Ellie

Ellie in the James farm kitchen wearing a green apron and holding a saucepan of baked beans.

As well as being an incredible mentor for LOOK, Ellie is also a young artist and performer who has been blind since birth. She is well known for her high-profile roles in Doctor Who and Call The Midwife.

Ellie’s highlight from the Jamies Farm residential was the craft felting session and spending time with the young people – “It was so great to see them really flourishing.”

One of the key things she learned from the week was to make sure she was really listening to the young people. e.g. When one of the group felt tired around the campfire Ellie knew not to press them but instead ask open questions.

Ellie wants to give a shout-out to her mentoring colleague Daniel “Daniel, approached everything with a caring nature and thought about everyone and what they would need. He also had open and useful conversations with the young people and the adults as well.”

Naz

Naz wearing a blue waterproof jacket and riding hat, cuddling a brown horse.

“Hi I’m 23, and have been doing voluntary work for a few disability-related organisations over the past few years after finishing studying music at university. I am hoping to pursue a career in Yoga teaching within the next year.

My eye condition is called Rod Cone Dystrophy. I have almost total night blindness, and low vision during the day.

My highlight of the residential was the group meet and greet, it was really honest and warming to hear everyone in the group open up. I did find it challenging to hear the young people be critical of themselves especially as I could relate to feeling like this when I was younger.

Over the week, I learned more about myself and my self-awareness, like when needing time out to recuperate. I found I could fill my own cup and still help other people.

Shout out to fellow mentor Kombo, his radiant and positive energy and humour helped keep the group’s energy levels at a high!”

Kombo

Kombo wearing a Jamie's farm apron stirring a large pot of pasta.

When 31yr old Kombo isn’t supporting LOOK with his incredible mentoring he works as a massage therapist, in Sussex.

Losing his sight as a young adult, Kombo has peripheral vision but no central vision. His visual impairment hasn’t stopped him from being an avid sports player and supporter, especially of his beloved football team!

Kombos highlight of Jamies Farm residential was when leaving the farm seeing all the young people smiling and how happy and full of life they were. “It was amazing how in less than a week they had transformed.”

When asked what he learned from his time away he said “Some people feel like they can’t do things, they put themselves down before they start. Sometimes pushing them too much isn’t helpful; I learnt that at times it’s best to take a step back.”

Kombo’s shout-out goes to fellow mentor and colleague Naz, “She was always full of life and energy!”

Daniel

“Hey I’m Daniel, I’m 25 and live in Bangor North Wales.

I’m currently doing my PGCE teacher training in Secondary Music. I am a huge music lover, especially classical music.

The highlight of my time at Jamies Farm was when I was on break one morning I stayed in the kitchen to see what was going on. Seeing the young people interacting with the Jamies Farm staff and how they came into their own in the kitchen was great.

My biggest challenge was making sure that I knew where I was and who was around me. As someone with no vision, it was something I was more aware of. The setting is challenging but we had lots of support.

Over the week I learned to take a step back and not hover too much over the young people. They wanted their own space and initially, I felt we had to be really involved and show them what we were doing but they didn’t always need that, so I actively took a step back to give them space.

I would love to give a massive shout-out to mentor Ellie for her can-do attitude. You got stuck in over the week.”

A huge thank you to our four incredible mentors for their time, enthusiasm and dedication to making sure the Jamies Farm residential was an overwhelming success.

LOOK provides a free, tailored peer-mentoring service that connects VI young people with a trained VI mentor to offer advice, support, and guidance on subjects such as school, Further & Higher Education, careers, opportunities, and independent living, based on the mentor’s own experiences.

You can find out more about our mentoring service, here.