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Building Bridges to Opportunities with The Wise Group

Two Women Standing At Wisegroup Stand

Through our Community Investment Fund, we are proud to be piloting a programme of Relational Mentoring, delivered by The Wise Group. 

The Wise Group is a leading social enterprise who are working to lift People out of poverty and build bridges to opportunity for the most vulnerable in our society.  

We will be working closely with them to support their Relational Mentoring programme; a holistic experience that will support Customers in all areas of their basic needs. The programme gives mentors the capability to see the potential and ability of our Customers and invest in the success of other People. The programme guides individuals to reveal the right pathway for them rather than telling them what to do. It is truly person-centred and focuses on driving positive behavioural change to enable individuals to progress.  

This approach is considered to be an effective method for achieving sustainable outcomes and positive change which will also prevent the Customer’s need for repeat crisis support.  

Trust and relationship building

The Wise Group mentors will complement our internal Housing and Financial Inclusion Teams from the beginning of the Customer’s journey into their next home. We expect 108 households across Scotland to benefit from the pilot initially with the ambition to progress this further.  

Customers who are identified as ‘high complexity’ will receive at least four months of intensive support which will be extended if needed. The mentor will develop a trusted 1:1 relationship with the individual to the point where they feel confident to confide in them and express their real issues.   

Recently, we invited Victoria, Strategic Development Lead from The Wise Group to our Hays Community Hub in Edinburgh to understand the needs of the Community.  

“We really enjoyed meeting your colleagues and Customers at the Hub last week. It was excellent to get to know the area better and understand the needs of the Community. We spoke to many Customers and their needs were very varied which confirms our person-centred mentoring approach.” 

Providing support when needed most 

To show you the inspiring work that mentoring programme provides, we bring to you Andy’s story. Andy turned to The Wise Group for support after he lost his job and didn’t know where to turn to.  

He was at his absolute lowest point. He’d lost his job, couldn’t pay his bills, and felt that his kids were suffering. He started going without just so they could have something to eat and so they could afford to have the heating on long enough for them to do their homework and get to bed.  

Andy’s home developed mould, his daughter developed a chest infection and he blamed himself. He felt hopeless and didn’t know how he and his family would ever cope again.  

Reaching out for support 

Andy heard about The Wise Group from a friend who had worked with one of their mentors when they got out of prison and wondered if they could do anything for him. Speaking to The Wise Group, Andy said it felt different straight away. Not only did they care, but they also truly understood what he had experienced up until now.  

Knowing that Andy had money concerns and was struggling to heat his home, one of the mentors from The Wise Group helped him with his prepayment metre and made sure he was being supported with the right benefits. At this stage, Andy felt a glimmer of hope, and finally was being told yes!  

Andy was then put in touch with Sandra, one of the employability mentors. Sandra supported Andy to think about what jobs could match his skills and experiences, helped him write a new CV, and signed him up for courses that would improve his IT and employability skills. This led to Andy securing a job that suited him perfectly.  

Regaining his confidence

Andy felt confident thanks to the support from The Wise Group. He takes pride in his work, can heat his home, put food on the table, and make a better life for his kids. He really values the support that his mentor provided him with.

“Having someone like Sandra in my corner made a huge difference. She gave me the courage and belief to move on from our redundancy and find my way back into work. Having that level of support and encouragement and having someone with the knowledge and contacts to open doors. Someone to explore the issues with and talk me through different options, that’s really helped me to decide what’s right for my family.”

To make sure Andy is still on track, Sandra keeps in touch with him frequently. Andy’s journey hasn’t been an easy one, but with support from The Wise Group, he can make positive changes that benefit him and his family's lives. 

Supporting our Customers 

We look forward to working with Victoria and her colleagues at The Wise Group, jointly striving to further improve outcomes for our Customers in our Communities.  

Visit The Wise Group for more information on the inspiring work that they do.