Mentor UK, based in CAN Mezzanine, have merged with another drug awareness organisation, the Angelus Foundation. Angelus Foundation bring expertise of 'legal highs' to new merge.
Mentor UK is the UK's leading charity working to prevent the misuse of alcohol and drugs among children and young people. Angelus Foundation, founded in 2009, focused on raising awareness of the dangers of psychoactive substances, otherwise known as 'legal highs'.
Angelus will now operate under the Mentor UK name and Michael O'Toole, Chief Executive of Mentor, will lead the newly merged organisation.
Both organisations have a shared objective to help young people build resilience to the risks that drugs and alcohol can present.
Michael O'Toole says, “There’s a strong natural synergy between the two charities. Angelus developed a real expertise in trying to help young people understand the risks of psychoactive drugs and by bringing that into our broader portfolio of expertise around drugs and alcohol, we now have specific knowledge of a very current and growing problem for young people.
"We're able to reach a bigger scale of more young people now; we do a lot of practical delivery work in schools whereas Angelus have experience of reaching out to young people through other channels, such as music festivals."
For example; Mentor UK are developing a project with Angelus which involves helping young people in the transition from sixth form into higher education.
"We believe that this transition is underserved in respect of equipping young people to tackle risks that they may come across in that change in their life. The really exciting thing about this project is that it's not only focusing on drugs and alcohol but we'll work in partnership with other charities who will also be looking at risky sexual behaviour, mental health and building resilience for young people to be ready to make the transition."
A fundamental role for the newly merged organisation will be to break the association with the term 'legal highs'.
"I've spoken to lots of young people about legal highs in the past who believe that if they're sold in the shop and they're 'legal' highs, they must be safe but they don't have an understanding of what they are taking."
Angelus were instrumental in the implementation of the new Psychoactive Substances Act which came into force in May this year and made the sale and distribution of new psychoactive substances illegal, resulting in the closure of head shops across the country.
"We are working together to set up an All Party Parliamentary Group to support the government’s 30 month review to assess the impact of the new act and how education and awareness for young people can help." For more about Mentor UK and the merge, please visit: http://mentoruk.org.uk. To learn more desk space at CAN Mezzanine for third sector organisations, please visit: https://can-mezzanine.org.uk/services/office-space.