Broadening Horizons: Our Mentoring Service
Broadening Horizons is our exciting new mentoring project which aims to empower young people to achieve their goals in life.
In this project, trained mentors will be matched to a young person aged 13-18. Our mentors will guide and motivate the young person, support them in their schoolwork, and help them formulate and put into action plans for their education and careers. Mentors may, for instance, bring the young person to visit a university campus, or they may help the young person explore other routes to employment such as learning a trade or applying for an apprenticeship.
The charity’s ethos supports a whole family approach, and research has also shown that young people are more likely to achieve their aspirations when they have strong parental support. We aim to facilitate and encourage such parental support by having most sessions take place in the family home. In addition, our mentors will also be trained to facilitate positive parental engagement.
Training for our mentors began in December 2016, and the project will become “live” in January 2017.
What does a mentor offer?
- Develop a trusting and supportive relationship with the young person.
- May help with homework, assignments and revision techniques.
- Encourage consideration of future options and assist in developing strategies for attainment of aspirations.
- Ensure that parents/carers are engaged in understanding and sharing aspirations and the pathways to their achievement.
- May be able to organise and accompany young people and parents, where appropriate, to university campuses, employment venues, training fairs etc.
What can a mentor not help with?
A mentor cannot:
- Take care of mentees overnight.
- Assist with housework.
- Share personal details with a family or have informal contact with them ‘off the record’ (e.g. following/friending on social media, sharing a personal phone number or email, or visiting the family informally). This is for the safety of the family and the volunteer.
- Provide professional psychological or medical support.
Our mentors are not professionals, but caring people who have time to give to help others. Sometimes a mentee will need more specialised help than our volunteers are qualified to offer. In these cases, we can signpost them to a more appropriate service.
How often do mentoring sessions take place?
One-to-one sessions are carried out on a weekly basis and loosely fit around term times. Each mentoring relationship will last for a period of roughly 6 months or 2 school terms.
How do you monitor and supervise mentors?
All of our mentoring volunteers will be DBS checked before they are able to begin training or have any contact with service users. On receipt of a satisfactory DBS, as well as satisfactory references, the volunteer can then attend a Family Placement Induction and begin training. DBS checks are redone every two years. We also have strict policies in place which all volunteers are required to sign.
Training and supervision
Mentoring volunteers are supervised by the Family Befriending Coordinator (currently Nisha). Once placed with a family the Mentor and the Family Befriending Coordinator maintain regular correspondence to ensure the effective delivery of service.
Mentors must always attend monthly supervision sessions with the Family Services Organiser and CEO. They must also complete weekly log sheets and return these to the Family Services Organiser at the earliest opportunity.
All personal information about families is held securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988. Information is shared with the professionals that refer families to us, but no information is shared with any other organisations without the permission of the family.
The safety of families and children is our first priority. If there is a child protection concern, volunteers are legally obligated to report this to social services.
How do I become a mentor?
Please click here to find out how to become a mentor.
We also recruit for office-based volunteering roles, so if you’re looking to gain experience in this area then we’d love to hear from you!