Thursday, 13 February 2014

The YAPS project @ Ponthafren Association

The YAPS Project, which is delivered by Ponthafren Association, offers peer support mentoring to young people (16 - 25 years old) who experience mental health issues, by helping to give them a voice of their own in the development of services. Here at Powys Mental Health we spoke to Zoe Greenslade, one of the volunteer mentors with the project.

Why did you decide to become part of the group?

I’m Zoe Hannah Greenslade, I am 18 years old and in early January I started volunteering at the Ponthafren Centre, in Newtown. Since then, my time here has been amazing – with no two days being the same. I was thrown straight in at the deep end and within days of being here I was asked whether I would be interested in joining the YAPS Project.

YAPS stands for ‘Young Adult Peer Support’ and I think it is a brilliant way of helping other young people to share their own experience on mental health. Peer Support isn’t as formal as counselling. We young mentors are providing this service to other young people because we care. All of the mentors are volunteers, meaning we don’t get paid to be a part of this project. We are dedicating our time to help and support other young people who may be suffering in silence, and thinking that they are alone.

Mentoring is a confidential and non-judgmental relationship, in which we provide a friendly face and support in order to help other young people feel happier. By meeting in a safe environment, both mentors and mentees can feel at ease, knowing anything they discuss will remain confidential. Previously, I have had several attempts at counselling, however in most cases I gave up attending my meetings. I always felt like the counsellor wasn’t really interested in helping me and was only talking to me because they were paid to do so. With YAPS, this isn’t the case as all mentors are volunteers with an interest in helping others and using their experiences to support their peers. I am really looking forward to being a mentor for so many reasons. Firstly, because I wish I had the opportunity to have a mentor for myself, when I most needed one. I wish I’d had someone who I felt actually wanted to listen to me, purely because they cared and wanted to help me get better.

What has been the response to the meetings so far?

Once a month all of the mentors meet up at Ponthafren in a ‘focus group’ and discuss any issues or ideas we have regarding the YAPS Project. We are asked by the Project Coordinator for our views and input to all parts of the project from leaflet design, promoting the project and to the content of the mentor training. As the whole idea is still quite new to us, it is lovely being able to learn from one another, to be consulted and listened to and being able to put together loads of ideas that we believe will make the YAPS Project stand out and become a fantastic resource.

Who can join the group?

Anyone aged 16 - 25 who is interested in becoming a mentor.

The YAPS Project is looking for young people who can commit to becoming a mentor, there are no set hours - you may be able to give an hour or two a week or a month, either is fine. Once you are a mentor there will be training and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check then you will be paired with a mentee. If you are looking to become a mentor – or know anyone who may be interested – or for any other information regarding the YAPS Project, then contact Caroline Mercer (YAPS Co-ordinator) on 07792 346 519 or email

When is the next meeting?

20th February 4pm @ Ponthafren in Newtown.

What do you hope to achieve from being a mentor?

I want to be able to feel satisfied. Satisfied that I have:

  • Made a difference to even one young person’s life, for the better.
  • Put a smile on their face.
  • Given them the confidence that there are still people who want to help and care for them.
  • Reassure the mentee that, most importantly, they are not alone.
A big thank you to Zoe for telling us all about the YAPS Project and her involvement. YAPS is one of seven projects funded by the Big Lottery Fund as part of the One Powys Connecting Voices programme. You can read more about YAPS in the latest One Powys - Connecting Voices newsletter, or on the Ponthafren Association website.

Tell us what you think about mentoring. Is it a good idea? And can it help shape mental health services for the better?


  1. Thank you so much Zoe (and Jackie) this is a really interesting and thoughtful post. Laura

  2. Thank you for sharing this post. Really interesting and very informative