Covid-19 update: our training days scheduled for June 2020 are postponed but we are currently accepting applications for autumn training. Our team is available to discuss future mentoring and to process your application now, so if you’ve been thinking about volunteering, please call 01225 429694 (office hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation chat.
Our volunteer mentors are at the core of what we do. We spend most of our time, energy and resources in helping our mentors do what they do, and we truly value them.
Volunteers receive full training before they begin as a mentor, and continued supervision and support throughout the mentoring year.
Once you have completed training and passed the selection process, you are matched with a young person for a year-long relationship. You arrange to meet once a week or so, doing things together and getting talking.
Each young person has a personal plan, covering what they’d like to learn, achieve or feel better about. As their mentor, you’ll help them think about these things, and give them time to talk about what’s happening at home, in school or with friends.
Mentors may take their mentees to activities organized by Mentoring Plus, or do their own thing. Your link worker will keep you in touch with upcoming events and suggest lots of other ideas.
Each mentor and mentee reviews what’s been happening and how they are feeling every three months. Towards the end of the year, they work together to decide on next steps and celebrate how far they’ve come.
Relationships don’t happen overnight. You need to be in it for a year.
…in young people. Enjoy their company and energy, try out new activities, and the conversation will flow. Some experience as a parent, carer, teacher or similar is helpful but not essential.
A couple of hours with a calm adult who isn’t involved in their problems, won’t take things personally and won’t shout can be a lifeline to a young person.
Successful mentors offer reliability to a young person who may not have enough of it in their life. It’s usually a couple of hours one evening a week, (allowing for holidays etc).
Sometimes change is slow and undramatic, but it happens in the end. You need to be OK with your young person setting the pace.
Every young person has skills and strengths, even if they are just about coping and keeping trying. Seeing and praising effort is key.
This doesn’t mean you have to be rich and successful. It does mean you’re someone a mentee can aspire to be: on an even keel, able to cope with what life throws at you, doing your best.
Q: What checks do you carry out on volunteer mentors?
A: As you’d expect, the safety of our young people is paramount. All volunteers are subject to standard Safer Recruitment procedures. We also ask for a recent DBS* check on all candidates, and any disclosures are subject to a risk assessment process. We ask for and follow up all references with care. We have to ensure that any CV gaps are accounted for and we feel the candidate is volunteering for the right reasons.
When you volunteer, we’ll have a conversation about your availability, your ability to commit to meeting regularly, and your reasons for volunteering. We need to know whether you’re really able to mentor right now, and if mentoring is right for you.
Mentors complete an interview and a 3-month probationary period to ensure any issues do not affect the safety and wellbeing of mentees. We also ask you to sign a volunteer’s agreement, so you’re clear on what you can expect from us, and vice-versa.
Q: Can you keep in touch with your mentee after mentoring ends?
A: We support mentors and mentees to plan for the end of mentoring throughout their year together. We aim to connect young people to other resources in our community, and build their resilience so they feel able to move forward at the end of the year. If they need further support, our practitioner will ensure they get this. If the young person chooses to let their previous mentor know how they are getting on and the mentor agrees, that’s fine, but any ongoing contact needs to be safely supported by our professionals. We have a constant demand for mentors for new young people, and really welcome volunteers to mentor again if they can.
* (Disclosure & Barring Service, which replaced the old Criminal Records Bureau or CRB check.)