About this role
Friendship Works mentors are ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing. As a mentor, you will be asked to give a few hours of your time most weekends, to bring fun and friendship into the life of a child who is feeling lonely and isolated. Through weekly outings, you will build a safe, stable friendship with your mentee. Over time, you will become someone they can turn to for support, who they know is there for them when they need someone to listen.
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?
Children, Teenagers, Young People, Young people in Care
This service supports children in London aged 5 – 18 who have been through difficult or traumatic experiences.
They may have grown up in a family impacted by domestic violence. They might be young carers, who help look after someone in their family who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. They may have additional needs that mean they struggle to make friends. They are usually from families who are living in, or on the brink of, poverty.
What difference will you make?
Friendship Works volunteers have a positive impact in the lives of the children they mentor. A recent independent external evaluation of the service found that:
- 80% of young people feel happier as a result of having a mentor.
- 84% of young people reported increased levels of confidence since having a mentor.
Many of the young people we support have limited opportunities to get out and explore the world, or try out new activities. As a volunteer mentor, the first difference you will make to your young friend is that they will have someone to take them out and let them be a child for a few hours each week. Whatever might be going on at home, the time they spend with you will be time to try new or practise favourite activities, to play and have fun.
Like all young people, those supported by Friendship Works are trying to find their way in the world, to work out who they are, what talents and skills they have, and how to feel comfortable in their own skin. The difference is that their circumstances can make it harder for them get the support that all children need as they work these things out. As your friendship grows and they begin to see that you are trustworthy and reliable, they may begin to look to you for support or guidance in dealing with life’s challenges.
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 minority ethnic and LBGTQIA+ communities.
This role will suit volunteers who:
- Are over 21 years old;
- Demonstrate good levels of empathy;
- Are good listeners and non-judgemental;
- Would enjoy spending time with a child or teenager;
- Are active and fun, and have hobbies or interests to share with a young person.
What's in it for you?
Our mentors tell us that the experience of providing long-term support to a child who needs it 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 some of London’s families
- Try new activities or visit new places
- See the world through the eyes of a child
- Develop greater confidence and self esteem
- Experience greater levels of happiness
All Family Action volunteers receive full training and access to ongoing supervision and 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.