Who are the young people and what are their needs?
The young people who take part in the mentoring programme are aged 14-25 and face multiple challenges in their lives. These may include difficult family backgrounds, mental health struggles such as anxiety and depression, problems at school or a lack of education and difficulty finding and keeping work.
All the young people who engage in mentoring attend projects at Soft Touch. The mentoring is a progression opportunity which young people can take advantage of when they feel ready to move forwards. It is entirely a voluntary opportunity.
What is the aim of the mentoring?
We do not expect mentors to turn young people’s lives around. The young people we work with face complex challenges that are not easily resolved. Most have professionals involved in their lives such as social workers, counsellors and doctors. However, a mentor can offer a different type of input as they come from a different background and perspective and are not being paid to spend time with the young person.
The overall aim is to ‘improve the lives of vulnerable young people’ but specifically to raise self-esteem, confidence and aspirations for the future while also making some practical movement towards a better life. This could vary from finding a job to being able to catch a bus into town on their own depending on the starting point of the young person. It is not a befriending project, and mentors will support their mentees to identify some goals to work towards.
What is my commitment?
We ask you to commit to attending training which consists of 4 two hour modules run across two evenings and then to one weekly mentoring session of one hour. This may vary according to individual needs – e.g. you may plan a one-off two hour session to work on something specific, or limit a session to a quick 30 minute check-in. There will be a small amount of paperwork to complete after each session, taking 5-10 minutes.
The Co-ordinator will check in with you every 4-6 weeks over the phone to review the mentoring relationship. This should take 10-15 minutes. Approximately halfway through the mentoring process, you will attend a 2 hour session along with other mentors to review and share your experiences to date.
At the end of the mentoring you will be expected to attend a mentoring celebration event along with your mentee to celebrate the achievements of the young people. This is usually an early evening event.
Will I be safe & supported?
We take the mentors’ safety seriously. Young people with a history of aggression, violence or who have a drug problem are not accepted onto the programme. Mentoring will take place at Soft Touch in the mentoring room, although it will be possible to take your mentee out if there is a specific reason to do so e.g. visit to the job centre. There is always additional support available at Soft Touch from experienced youth workers should you need it.
You will be supported throughout the mentoring programme by the mentoring co-ordinator, backed up by the Soft Touch team so that someone is always available to help you.
Is there a cost?
There is no cost to take part as a mentor, however, if you do not have a current DBS certificate you will have to pay for a DBS check.
It does cost money to run the mentoring programme however, so we encourage our mentors to be ambassadors for the programme and share their experiences within their networks. We have sponsorship opportunities for companies or individuals who wish to sponsor a place on the mentoring programme for a young person.