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Tuesday 11 November 2014

Could you be a TWISTA legend?


We aren’t talking about the game with a similar name but rather being a mentor to help inspire the next generation.

Cheshire East Council and its partners are looking for 20 mentors for the latest cohort of what has proved to be a wildly-successful programme. 

TWISTA (derived from the acronym Together We Inspire Striving To Achieve) was created in 2011, by police officer PC Rebecca Francis, and since then there have been 13 Twista programmes run across Cheshire.

The programme is aimed at Year 10 pupils and runs between January and July 2015 in Congleton and Crewe.

The TWISTA project seeks to encourage mentors from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and life experience, who can spare three hours a month. The one common trait is a desire to see others succeed.

Mentors do not have to be from Congleton but must be willing to work with teenagers from the town. The scheme is designed to help youngsters who don’t have the support that they need from home and friends – often without this support they give up.

Mentors will also be given the support they need and will receive around five hours of quality training before embarking on mentoring.

Once trained, mentors will be paired with a teenager that is matched to them in terms of hobbies and interests. Meetings with mentees will be held with other mentors and teachers around.

Feedback from students who have completed the programme have been superb with many highlighting it’s positive influence on their confidence, grades and ability to overcome the many problems encountered by teenagers.

Cheshire police Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Cheshire Constabulary are proud to endorse ‘TWISTA’ as a true representation of the acronym ‘Together We Inspire Striving To Achieve’. 

“By working with partner agencies, the 12-week programme centres around introducing new ways of thinking and personal decision making to improve attitudes, behaviour and self-esteem in young people.  

“At a time when some young people are most vulnerable and susceptible to negative influences, TWISTA works to build close connections with people in the community, in the school, with mentors and peers. 

“Prior success shows that with the support of positive relationships throughout the structured programme, those fully engaged on the programme have reaped results that have improved the life outcomes and aspirations for students involved.”

Mr Leigh, headteacher of Knutsford Academy, said: “On each occasion the students involved have shown a significant improvement in their motivation, their attitude toward school and their desire to maximise their achievement.

“This is an opportunity to engage with young people at a key time in their lives and make a difference.”

Deb Lindop, local engagement officer for Cheshire East Council and TWISTA mentor, said: “For me, being a mentor was sometimes challenging, quite a bit of fun but most of all rewarding. I was really pleased to be a small part of their journey and seeing the difference it could make to their lives.”

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of localism and enforcement, said: “The TWISTA programmes have been hugely successful and play an important part in helping many teenagers find their feet as they embark on the transitional period between school and work.

“Many older people don’t realise just how valuable their life experience can be to others and yet they would love to give something back. I’d strongly encourage anyone who might be interested in this to get in touch and find out more. It’s only a few hours a month and could make lasting difference to the life of someone else.”

Interested people should contact TWISTA at: to find out more and obtain and application form before the end of November.

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