About this role
Young people leaving the care system are often left to face the challenges of adulthood without family or previous carers to turn to for advice, information or support. Our volunteer mentors provide these young adults with a trusted, long term relationship at a time which can often be frightening, lonely or confusing.
Mentoring is free for volunteers – all expenses incurred are reimbursed to a maximum amount per month, inclusive of activity expenses and travel costs.
What is the time commitment?
This role is for 3 hours per week approximately. Minimum commitment for 2 years.
Who will you be helping?
Care Leavers, Teenagers, Young Adults
A care leaver is someone who has been in care for a period of 13 weeks or more spanning their 16th birthday. This service supports care leavers aged 18 – 25.
Young people living in care have experienced significant childhood trauma such as the effects of domestic violence, caring for family members, or managing their own mental health issues. They face considerable challenges when leaving the system and entering adulthood. Whilst childhood trauma can have a negative impact on all young people later in life, the likelihood of this is even higher for young people who have been in care. They are at higher risk of becoming involved in criminal activity or drug or alcohol addiction, less likely to achieve academically and more likely to experience poor mental health in adulthood.
What difference will you make?
Friendship Works volunteers have a positive impact in the lives of the individuals they mentor. A recent independent external evaluation of the service found that:
- 76% of Care Leavers feel more positive about their future since having mentor.
- 60% of Care Leavers feel more in control of their lives since having the support of a mentor.
By matching young adults leaving the care system with a volunteer mentor to build a positive, long term friendship, they are given access to support and new experiences. This helps them develop life skills and a greater sense of self worth, building the resilience needed to manage the challenges of adult life. As a result young adults gain new perspectives and are in a better position to explore training, education or employment opportunities.
We need male and female adult volunteers from all walks of life to build a stable and positive long term friendship with a care leaver through weekly outings. These outings last for 2-3 hours, giving mentors and mentees a chance to explore mutual interests and participate in new activities together.
Who are we looking for?
There is no typical Friendship Works mentor. We want our volunteers to be as diverse as the young people we support.
We welcome applications from volunteers from all walks of life, with a variety of life experiences, including men and women from B.A.M.E and LBGTQIA+ communities.
This role will suit volunteers who:
- Are over 23 years old;
- Demonstrate good levels of empathy;
- Can show high levels of commitment and resilience;
- Are good listeners and non-judgemental;
- Have the skills to build a positive, safe friendship with a care experienced young person;
- Are active and fun, and have hobbies or interests to share with a young adult.
What's in it for you?
Our mentors tell us that the experience of providing long-term support to a care leaver can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. Many of our volunteers also report that volunteering as a mentor has helped them:
- Discover new levels of patience and empathy;
- Gain insight into the challenges facing care experienced Londoners;
- Try new activities or visit new places;
- Gain a new perspective;
- Develop greater confidence and self esteem;
- Experience greater levels of happiness.
All Family Action volunteers receive full training and access to regular supervision and ongoing support for as long as they are in the role.
How can you find out more?
This role requires a high level of commitment, so it is important for volunteers to understand what is involved. Anyone interested is invited to attend a Volunteer Information Evening, where we will explain more about what our mentors do and why this model of mentoring is so effective. There will also be a chance to hear from our staff team, young people and a current mentor.
Please click the "I'm Interested" button to book a place at one of these events.