Our Parent Mentoring service aims to match trained Mentoring volunteers with local families in need, to provide them with practical and emotional support in the challenges they face. The aim of Mentoring is to provide families and children in need with the tools to improve their circumstances and lead more fulfilling lives. We aim to foster independence by being there for families so that they do not have to face their challenges alone.
What are some reasons a family might benefit from a Mentor?
A Mentor may be able to provide practical and emotional support if a family or child is struggling with the following:
- Social isolation
- Housing and money-related worries
- Schoolwork or problems at school
- Communication problems and risk of family breakdown
- General stress – for example, struggling to care for children
What kinds of things can a Mentor help with?
A Mentor will usually provide supportive home visits to the family each week for a minimum of 6 months.
A Mentor can:
- Assist parents to find out about local services
- Provide non-specialist emotional support as an informed friend
- Assist families in the completion of paperwork (e.g. benefits forms) and correspondence
- Assist children with their homework
What can a Mentor not help with?
A Mentor cannot:
- Take care of children overnight, or provide regular childcare
- 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 family or family member will need more specialised help than our volunteers are qualified to offer. In these cases, we can signpost the family to a more appropriate service.
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 Parent Services Manager (Kayleigh Thornton). Once placed with a family the Mentor and Manager maintain regular correspondence to ensure the effective delivery of service. After 6 months there will be a review meeting attended by the Manager, the family and the Mentor.
Mentors must always attend monthly supervision sessions with the Manager and CEO. They must also complete weekly log sheets and return these to the Manager 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 Parent Mentor?
Please click here for more information about volunteering your time and to see whether we’re currently looking for new Mentoring volunteers.
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!