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How to refer a young person to be mentored

Mentoring Plus provides volunteer-led mentoring services and activities for 7 to 21 year olds in Bath & NE Somerset who are facing significant challenges (up to age 25 with a SEND diagnosis).

Referring 7 – 11 year olds

Mentees aged 7-11 are referred directly by Primary schools or through the Behaviour & Attendance Panels, which represent primary schools across Bath & North East Somerset. If you’d like a 7-11 year old to be considered for volunteer mentoring in future, please speak to the child’s school headteacher or SENCO.

Please contact our Primary Mentoring Manager for more details.

Further questions about referring a 7 – 11 year old directly? Please check out our FAQS where we have covered the most common questions.

Green brush stoke circle with small blue circle
Green brush stoke circle with small blue circle

Who we can support

We specifically support young people identified as facing more than one risk factor from those detailed below:

  • Displaying signs of anti–social behaviour
  • Disengaged or at risk of exclusion from education
  • In or leaving care
  • Experiencing significant challenges out / in school– including factors such as emotional challenges, lack of role models, bullying, family issues/breakdown, bereavement, isolation, identity and historic domestic violence

Referral Questions

For young people aged 7-11, we have spaces for mentoring September – July and then again January – December. This gives options to include support for year 6 children with continued support in terms 1 and 2 at secondary school.

Contact for more information about when we are open for referrals.

We will have the capacity for 6 direct referrals in September and a further 6 in January. Please note that this is in addition to referrals made through Panel.

Please email us with applications to refer. We will then use a blind ballot system in June and November each year to select a limited number of referrals. An external professional will supervise this to ensure fairness.

An application to refer will contain basic information about the young person and how they meet the criteria below. Successful applicants will be contacted to invite them to make a full referral within a stated time period.

If these full referrals are not returned in time, or we later find that any of these young people do not meet the criteria for this service, we will select additional young people by the same process from the original applications, and contact them to invite them to refer in full. This process will continue until the places are filled.

Referrals must meet two or more of the following criteria:

  • Be in or leaving care
  • At risk of educational disengagement
  • Issues of cultural isolation
  • Displaying signs of anti-social behaviour
  • Substance abuse directly or within the family
  • Emotional problems such as anxiety, bullying, etc
  • Family issues, including bereavement, domestic abuse or offending within the family

The application to refer will ask for all the relevant information above.

Because we have only limited capacity and we know demand for mentoring is very high, we have to choose young people as fairly as possible.

This process will also give us better information about how big the total demand for volunteer mentoring actually is. This may help us attract more charity funding to increase volunteer mentoring capacity in future.

As an early help service, mentoring really benefits young people who are showing signs of difficulties but are not yet at the point of crisis. Young people are also working with volunteers, and we have to make sure we accept mentees who can be safely supported by a trained volunteer, rather than a professional.

So even if we could be sure about who had the highest needs, we couldn’t use this to select young people. Our alternative services to support young people with higher needs may be suitable, and we can also signpost to other organisations.

If you are a professional supporting a child who might benefit, please chat to them and their family now about volunteer mentoring and ensure that consent is given.

Please make clear this is an application, not a definite referral at this stage, so it may not be successful in the ballot. It still needs their consent and some basic information to complete the short application to refer.

Applications cannot be submitted outside the opening period and any received outside this time will be automatically deleted. Submit completed applications by email only to

Depending on demand we may have to limit schools to a maximum number of applications each to ensure fairness. Each application will relate to just one referral, so each individual has the same chance of being selected in the ballot.

As long as we receive an application, there is an equal chance for that young person to be selected in the ballot. We need to ask referrers to make sure that they don’t overlook any young people who might benefit, being inclusive to all backgrounds, heritage and different types of need.

Over the last few years we’ve supported a greater proportion of BAME young people than are represented in our community as a whole. We’re not a specialist service for supporting young people with disabilities, but if an individual can fully benefit from mentoring without significant extra resources needed, we will work hard to ensure they can be included if possible. Many of our young people are supported with learning and other difficulties such as dyslexia, ADHD etc.

We usually receive fewer referrals for girls than boys. We continue to ask referrers to be aware of young people who may have significant challenges but present them in different ways, such as less vocally, so that their needs are not overlooked.

Application window will open twice a year for January and September cohorts.

Once the process above is complete, we will not keep details of the other young people for whom we received applications. Their data will be securely deleted.

We want young people, families and professionals to feel 100% clear who is being supported by Mentoring Plus and who is not, so there is no waiting list for those who are not successful in the ballot.

We will clearly communicate to everyone who has made an application what the outcome is, make suggestions for other services, and invite them to apply next time. If you are supporting a family to apply to refer, please help ensure they understand the full process.

Like all services, we are limited by budget as to how many people we can support. We have to ensure our practitioners have a caseload they can safely look after – even though the mentoring is done by volunteers, our professionals have to train and support them. A lot of practitioners’ work involves responding to safeguarding concerns and working with schools, families and other agencies to provide joined-up care and make sure the voice of the young person and family is heard.

If you’d like to see more capacity in services like ours, please help us spread the word about how important they are, influence decision-makers like councillors and MPs, and help raise funds for them. Please contact us if you’d like to help.