Mentor and Angelus merged on October 1, 2016.
The Angelus Foundation was founded in 2009 by Maryon Stewart, whose daughter Hester (pictured), a medical student and athlete, passed away after consuming a legal high in April 2009. Angelus was the only charity in the UK focused on raising awareness of the dangers of new psychoactive substances or NPS, formerly known as legal highs, and will bring this expertise to Mentor.
Angelus merged with Mentor on 1 October 2016 and now operates under the Mentor name. Michael O’Toole, chief executive of Mentor, leads the new organisation, and Jan King, formerly chief executive of Angelus, is assisting with the integration of the two charities.
We are as determined as ever to protect young people from the harms of new psychoactive substances – joining forces with Mentor UK is the most powerful way to do that. There is no organisation in the sector more respected than Mentor with their strong track record of delivering high quality prevention programmes – we are excited by what we can now offer our young people and communities.Jan King
Both charities recognised close parallels in our objectives to develop a greater public profile and stronger influence so we can achieve our common objectives of preventing harm to young people by building their skills to successfully navigate challenging situations.
We have a shared ambition to see increased provision of evidence-based preventative education delivered to young people so that every young person in the UK can thrive, free of the harms of alcohol and drugs.
The merger enables us to bring Angelus’ work as the only UK charity concentrating on new and emerging drugs into Mentor’s new and existing programmes.
Angelus has shown it is the lead voice in educating young people and the public about the new phenomenon of new psychoactive substances. Together we will be a stronger force to build even more young people's resilience to the wide range of pressures they face.Michael O'Toole, Chief Executive, Mentor
The newly merged organisation will work to break the association with the term “legal highs”. Many people believe that if a substance was sold in a shop as a “legal” high, it must be safe; this was not the case, as many of these synthetic drugs were unregulated and their composition would change to keep up with temporary bans on particular substances.
Angelus were instrumental in the implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act, which came into force in May 2016 and made the sale and distribution of new psychoactive substances illegal, resulting in the closure of head shops across the country. Mentor and Angelus lobbied the Government to help educate young people in the wake of the Act. Mentor, in partnership with Re-Solv, have now set up an All Party Parliamentary Group to support the government’s 30 month review, which will assess the impact of the Act and how education and awareness for young people can help.
Angelus also developed an independent website for young people, Why Not Find Out, to provide information about NPS, their harms and history, legality and how to stay safe.
Learn more about the new Mentor team here.