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Become a mentor

What is volunteer mentoring?

Mentoring is spending time one to one regularly with a trusted adult. For children and young people referred to us, a mentor can offer the chance to talk, explore issues and come up with their own ways to cope. But mentoring is also about positive activities following the young person’s interests and goals. It’s about getting out and about, trying new things and connecting with our community.

A great volunteer mentor needs to be

Committed

Relationships don’t happen overnight. You need to be in it for a year

Interested

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

Calm and good humoured

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

Available

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)

Patient

Sometimes change is slow and undramatic, but it happens in the end. You need to be OK with your young person setting the pace

Positive

Every young person has skills and strengths, even if they are just about coping and keeping trying. Seeing and praising effort is key

Someone is there if anything happened. It’s helped me get better at school. Before I was quite naughty – now I’m a lot better in and out of school. I’m back in class now – I used to be on my own in a room. I used to be the class clown now I’m answering questions. I’m a lot better and I can handle things – I don’t have to worry about it

Jacob

Jacob has had a positive return to school and has settled back into school routines well and seems to have a more enthusiastic attitude towards classroom learning such as sharing ideas or being proud of the work he produces. He seems more confident in his ability and less likely to speak negatively about himself or his learning. His friendships within school seem much more stable currently and there are less problems occurring out on the playground. He seems more happy in himself and being at school which has been really lovely to see. He has really enjoyed his mentoring experience and I know it was something that he really looked forward to each week.’

Jacob's teacher

Jacob and I had a great time. We seldom did anything special. We met every week, walked to the supermarket and bought food and a drink, then chatted. And that wasn't anything ground-breaking either. We laughed, updated each other, commented on what we saw, and discussed Liverpool football. We had a great time, we became good friends, and we both got a tremendous amount from it. I'll miss seeing him. But I hope he has a sense now of how special he is. And I hope he remembers me for being someone who cared, and who thought he had potential

Mike, Jacob’s mentor

How to become a volunteer mentor

Our adult volunteer mentors are all ages and come from all walks of life. Some have had challenging experiences themselves, but they are in a good place now and ready to support someone else. Some have experience working with young people, but this isn’t essential.

Volunteer mentoring is for you if you enjoy getting out and about, chatting to young people and trying new activities. If you enjoy sport, music, art and crafts, wildlife, photography, local history or other things you could share with a young person, that’s great too.

Many mentors see it as an opportunity to make a real difference to a young person’s life, but also to have fun and explore their community. We work hard to ensure our volunteers have good experience, feel supported and enjoy their mentoring.

How to become a mentor

one

Have a chat with us

Call for a no-obligation chat about what's involved and decide if volunteering is right for you right now

Two

Fill in our form

Tell us about yourself and provide the info we need for background checks. We'll also ask you to apply for a DBS.

three

Attend training

Complete a 2-day training course - we run interactive, fun training sessions three times a year. 

four

Have an interview

An informal conversation to check you are ready to be matched

Your commitment

You do need to be able to commit to mentoring once a week for a couple of hours for a year (allowing for holidays etc). You won’t be matched until you’ve had training and background checking, so this means you need to know you’ll be around reliably for quite a while.

For primary mentoring you’ll need availability during the school day and in termtimes only. For secondary it’s year-round and outside school hours on weekdays, often early evening. It’s a big help if you can drive and have access to a car, but we can usually work around this if not.

We welcome volunteers irrespective of age, background, heritage, gender identity, life experiences, disabilities, learning difficulties, lifestyle, beliefs etc, provided that individuals are able to meet the requirements of the role with appropriate support. We operate a strict equal opportunities policy for both adults and young people.

Safer Recruitment procedures will be followed including an enhanced DBS check and employment references taken and verified. Where a DBS shows disclosures, a risk assessment process is followed evaluating recency and seriousness of past offences.

How to become a professional mentor

Now and again we have vacancies for freelance professionals to join our professional mentoring practice, supporting at least one and often more young people on a weekly basis. You’d be working with mentees at potentially higher risk, so a level of experience and expertise is necessary, including sound knowledge of safeguarding procedures. Completing a year of volunteer mentoring with us can be a route into this work.

Professional mentors often support young people during school hours, so availability during the school day in termtime is required. So is a well maintained car, a full driving licence and business insurance.

We welcome freelance applicants irrespective of age, background, heritage, gender identity, life experiences, disabilities, learning difficulties, lifestyle, beliefs etc, provided that individuals are able to meet the requirements of the role with appropriate support. We operate a strict equal opportunities policy for both adults and young people.

Safer Recruitment procedures will be followed including an enhanced DBS check and employment references taken and verified. Where a DBS shows disclosures, a risk assessment process is followed evaluating recency and seriousness of past offences.

Mentor Questions

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

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