In 2014, our Friendship Works service began to apply its forty years of experience and success mentoring children to supporting young people in the care system. 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 problems and 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.
By matching young adults leaving the care system with a volunteer mentor and building 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. Find out more about becoming a mentor below, or read some of our Friendship Works stories and meet some of our volunteers.
Often the only adults a young person in care knows are paid professionals and even these relationships can be transient. When young people leave the care system, many are 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.
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 3-4 hours giving mentors and mentees a chance to explore mutual interests and participate in new activities together.
As a volunteer mentor you will:
We are committed to ensuring all our volunteer mentors are provided with the support, supervision and training they need to be confident about building a safe meaningful friendship with a young adult. Our selection process for volunteer mentors allows us to ensure the safety of the children we support, but also provides an opportunity for you and us to assess whether this is the right volunteering opportunity for you.
As part of your on-going training and support you will:
building stronger families
building brighter lives