THE Bolton Atlantic Challenge team is weeks away from reaching its £250,000 target.

So the four rowers are now urging volunteers to come forward to help the junior mentoring project at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, which their sponsor money is funding.

There are more than 160 young people in need of support at the club, and the junior mentor volunteers are wanted to make a difference to their lives.

The award-winning mentoring scheme works with young people aged eight to 21, offering them guidance to help them develop and grow and put them on a positive path to a bright future.

Mark Brocklehurst, aged 52, Matt Nuttall, aged 44, Nick Griffiths, aged 42, and Finn Christo, aged 32, completed their epic 3,000- mile adventure to Antigua to raise the money in February, but say the real hard work is yet to come.

Mr Brocklehurst said: “The money we raised has enabled the help for additional co-ordinators and training, but now we need those volunteers to come forward so that our journey wasn’t done in vain.

“What we did was pretty tough, but hearing about what some of these children have been through puts our challenge into perspective. These volunteers are fantastic and work so hard to make real a difference to a child.

“Some of the children might have a difficult home life; others may be in foster care or be dealt with through social services, so the volunteers are the only non-paid people they will come into contact with and they will do it because they want to.”

Claire Stabler, mentoring manager, said: “The impact a volunteer providing a young person one-to-one support is enormous.

“Generally, mentors are the one consistent adult in a young person’s life, providing stability to their mentee’s often chaotic home life. The fact that our mentors are unpaid and donate their time freely just because they want to is of massive significance to our young people.

“I’d urge anyone who is looking for a rewarding challenge to volunteer.”

Those who are interested should call Katherine Howell, club volunteer recruitment officer. on 01204 540132 or email volunteering


TWO people who know the massive benefits of the scheme are mentor, Chris Greaves, and John Paul Dempsey.

Mr Greaves said: “Being John Paul’s mentor gives me the chance to do something positive, but it’s more than that now.

“We enjoy the time we spend together and have got to know each other well."

John Paul added: “I have tried golf, fishing and lots of other things in the time Chris has been my mentor.”