Mentor a child
Our Friendship Works service has been providing children and young people facing multiple disadvantages in life with a volunteer mentor for over forty years. Children with experiences such as the effects of domestic violence, caring for family members, or managing their own mental health problems often experience social isolation and low self-esteem. 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.
Through building a positive friendship with a volunteer mentor children in these situations are given access to new opportunities and experiences. This helps a child explore their potential and build self confidence, developing the resilience needed to manage adversity now and in the future. Find out more about becoming a mentor below, or read some of our Friendship Works stories and meet some of our volunteers.
What our volunteers do
Whatever a child’s particular circumstances, regular contact with a mentor gives them access to new experiences and opportunities as well as some one to talk to about the challenges they face. Building a stable, positive friendship with a mentor supports their emotional wellbeing and helps build the resilience they need to cope with adversity now and in the future.
We need male and female adult volunteers to build a stable and positive friendship with a child or young person through weekly outings. These outings take place at the weekend and last for 3-4 hours giving mentors and mentees a chance to discover mutual interests, try new activities and explore London together.
As a volunteer mentor you will:
- Develop a safe and stable friendship with your mentee helping to build their confidence and self esteem.
- Be able to introduce a young person or child to a range of new opportunities and activities.
- Be able to see beyond a child’s external presentation and understand the emotional needs underlying their behaviour.
- Bring stability, security and consistency to a child’s life through weekly contact for 2 years.
- Know when to provide advice and guidance, and when it’s better to just listen.
- Help a young person to explore their potential and get more out of their childhood.
- Support a young person to develop new life skills through sharing knowledge and experience.
- Support a child’s emotional well being as a trusted adult for them to talk to about the challenges they face.
- Be a positive, active and fun role model for your mentee.
Training and support
We draw on forty years of experience to ensure 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 child. Our selection process for volunteer mentors protects and safeguards the children we support, but also provides an opportunity for you and us to assess whether this is the right volunteer role for you.
As part of your on-going training and support you will:
- Attend a two hour information event to meet our team, hear from young people we support and current Friendship Works mentors
- Attend a group training and assessment weekend to build your skills and knowledge before you begin mentoring. This includes sessions on active listening, safeguarding children and how to respond to different situations you may encounter as a mentor
- Engage in regular supervision calls with a named caseworker once you are matched with a young person
- Have access to support, advice or guidance about your mentoring friendship whenever you need it
- Take part in 6 monthly reviews to discuss how your friendship is developing in more depth and explore any additional support you may need