A SHORTAGE of male role models in Furness primary schools has led the area's MP to appeal for men to come forward.

John Woodcock, the Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, wants men to make a New Year's resolution to inspire school children. Mr Woodcock today launched a new mentoring scheme throughout Furness in hope to increase the number of male role models found in local primary schools.

After local primary heads met with Mr Woodcock last November, they agreed to support the scheme that calls for any male helpers who can spare time throughout the school week to help out with classroom activities.

Mr Woodcock has recently finished a term of mentoring at South Walney Infant and Nursery school where he read each week to different classes in the school and to smaller groups of boys who experience, like many other primaries, a predominantly female staff.

He previously carried out similar sessions at Greengate Infant school in the centre of Barrow.

Mr Woodcock said: “These days families are more diverse in their make-up and the traditional family set-up does not always reflect every child's home life.

“I am honoured to have been asked to get involved with mentoring in local schools and I had such a rewarding experience.

“It would be great if other men who feel they could make a difference would come forward to help.”

Greengate Infant School head teacher Caroline Hoggarth said: “We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to have John Woodcock volunteer as a male role model in school every week.

“This introduced children to the role of the MP, a job they hadn't heard of before. The work John did with the group of boys raised their self esteem and self confidence.

“The boys looked forward to each week and enjoyed reading and playing games together. We fully support John’s plan to extend this scheme and would welcome more volunteers into school.”

The new scheme hopes to see local schools benefit from a greater number of male volunteers who could make suitable role models to provide a better balance in the gender make-up of local primary teams.

Those wanting further details are asked to get in touch with the MP's office either at 22 Hartington Street, Barrow or by calling 01229 431204 to discuss a possible school match.

Once paired, the school will carry out the standard safeguarding checks.