New Routes Mentoring

New Routes service user, Pete, rediscovers his interests and puts them to good use. 

[Names have been changed to preserve anonymity]

Service User Profile: Pete, 24, referred while in HMP Edinburgh

Service User circumstance prior to accessing New Routes: Pete was serving his fourth prison sentence and struggling to deal with emotional issues relating to trauma while in care. Pete had been offending since aged 15, mostly to fund substance misuse. On this occasion Pete would be homeless on release. 

What Action was taken / How New Routes helped:  On preparing Pete’s Personal Release Plan we identified that he needed support to find accommodation, access benefits and seek specialist support to help him deal with past trauma; related substance abuse; depression and anxiety. 

New Routes mentor supported him to apply for benefits and obtain emergency accommodation. However as Pete was being moved around different B&B’s he was only engaging sporadically and constantly in crisis. His mentor referred him to supported accommodation and he was accepted by Dunedin Canmore. Once his accommodation was stabilised we could begin addressing his main issues. Pete registered with a GP who  recommended that he apply for ESA until he could be properly assessed, diagnosed and receiving the correct  medication and treatment. The New Routes mentor also signposted Pete to SAMH and despite a shaky start – he began to engage fully with a local Counselling service. As Pete progressed through the New Routes programme, the relationship between mentor and mentee grew stronger and he began to respond more positively and to recognise that he had some control over his own life. Pete’s substance misuse reduced, he became more confident and showed interest in his own future. Together we identified interests and potential opportunities and Pete found the confidence to undertake activities with Venture Trust to successfully complete his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

As he grew in confidence Pete also began volunteering at a Riding for the Disabled stable in Balerno
Pete had previously enjoyed working with animals and quickly formed a close bond with the horses. He also discovered that working with young people with additional needs helped him to recognise new strengths and realise the positives in his own life.

Pete’s keen interest and aptitude for outdoor activities and volunteering experience working with other young people led to him be confident enough to apply for a place at MY Academy - an outdoor learning employability programme in Edinburgh.

Outcome: Pete completed a programme of counselling and is much stronger emotionally. He was accepted onto MY Academy and is currently undertaking training to deliver outdoor activities. Pete has gained certificates in Archery, Cycling Road Safety and Leadership and has already undertaken two sessions as an instructor. He is now looking forward to completing training in: Canoeing, Climbing, Mountain Biking and Orienteering.  Once fully trained, Pete will be qualified to work on a sessional basis instructing individuals and groups in outdoor activities. MY Academy will support Pete through the PVG Scheme to enable him to work with young/vulnerable people and he will also have an opportunity to learn to drive and obtain a full licence for both car and mini-bus.  

Quote from Service User:  “Working with New Routes made me believe that I could really become whatever I wanted to be. My mentor didn’t give up on me even when I didn’t turn up for appointments or didn’t do what I said I would. It was like she really cared about me.  I had never been given a chance like that before.  I really enjoyed volunteering and will keep in touch with the riding school for when I have more time.  It’s great training and working with MY Academy, I have something to look forward to and a reason to get up in the mornings. I no longer use drugs, my anxiety has reduced a lot, I have learned how to say "No" and be comfortable with that. I have some good friends and I feel much more confident. This opportunity really will change my future.”


Pete remains in contact with his New Routes mentor and is very much enjoying this new phase of his life. On completion of his MY Academy Course Pete plans to work with MY Adventure and study to become a youth outreach worker.