Thinking about Mentoring?
- How do I become a mentor?
Becoming a mentor is really simple! The first step is to fill out the application form – click here to download one. Someone from our team will then review your application and contact you to arrange your initial training. During training you will be able to express any particular interests which will then be used to match you with one of our young people. A member of the team will then support you in meeting the young person to get to know each other and to arrange for mentoring to start.
- I’m a student and go home during holidays – can I mentor? I’m retired and want to give something back – can I mentor? Do I need specific qualifications or experience?
Anyone can mentor! – You do not need to have specific qualifications or experience, we welcome all applications. Previous mentors have had varying levels of experience with children and young people, from professionals to parents. You will need to have a DBS which will be completed during your training with us. We have a number of mentors from all walks of life, with varying personal situations. Take a look at some of their stories here.
- What will the training involve?
The training will be held over two days: a full Saturday session alongside an evening session (usually Tuesday). You will cover the rights and responsibilities of a mentor; interpersonal relationships and communication skills; boundaries and professional relationships; working with young people – activities and support; child protection and confidentiality; equal opportunities and discrimination and administrative matters.
- What will be expected of me as a mentor?
In your role you will be expected to commit to one year of regular weekly sessions with your young person and to be a positive adult role model for them. We require you to fill in a session report documenting the time you have spent together – an example of which can be found here. We expect you to be open and honest in your relationship with the Island and to raise any concerns you may have as soon as possible. We also expect that you go out with your young person and have a lot of fun!
- What support will I get during my mentoring?
You will be allocated a mentor supervisor who will be there to help you with all aspects of your mentoring. If any issues arise during or between sessions you can contact your supervisor to discuss these. You will also attend regular supervision meetings (approximately every 6 weeks) to discuss how the mentoring is progressing and voice any concerns you might have.
- What can I do with my young person?
There are so many things you and your mentee can get up to! The opportunities are endless. Take a look at some activity examples here and read what our current mentors get up to with their mentees. When you become a mentor you will be given an activities guide with exclusive discounts to use on your sessions. Activities don’t have to be extravagant; many of our mentees enjoy simply going out for a walk or visiting the library. A lot of our young people love to take an active role in planning activities, so you will never be out of ideas!
- Will I be reimbursed for my expenses?
Yes, each mentoring pair is allocated £10 weekly to spend on activities. This can be used each week or if the session is less expensive it can be rolled over to pay for subsequent activities. Each pair are also allocated £5 to spend on travel each week, however this does not roll over. All expenses will be paid back to you, all you have to do is keep a record on your expenses form and submit this to the Island at your convenience by post, email or hand.
- What if the mentoring relationship doesn’t work?
Some relationships will take longer to develop than others, it can seem difficult at first and you may feel as though you are not getting anywhere with your young person or that you do not ‘click’. It is important to remember that all relationships take work; even if you don’t feel you’re making a difference, your mentee probably feels very different. Take a look at some of our case studies showing how some previous mentoring relationships have developed. If you have any concerns about your mentoring, your supervisor will be more than happy to discuss these with you.
- How will I end the mentoring relationship?
Typically, mentoring relationships end after a year of working with your young person. However, each relationship is different and you will be supported by your supervisor to appropriately end the mentoring at the time that is right for you and your mentee. In most cases the relationship will come to a natural end and sessions will gradually become less frequent. Ending the mentoring can be a difficult thing to do and you will be supported by your supervisor throughout.
- How will parents / carers feel about me taking out their child?
Guardians are fully informed about the mentoring and will have given their consent for it to take place. They are given the opportunity to voice any concerns or questions during the referral process and will be aware of the contact details for the Island. Most parents or carers will be relieved at this extra level of support for the young person and in most cases you will have chance to meet parents / carers during the initial meeting. Take a look at some of our quotes from parents here.
- What happens if I go on holiday or need to take a break from mentoring?
Consistency for our young people is very important and we do expect all of our mentors to recognise this. However, if you need some time away from mentoring (short or long-term) just let us know and we will always do our best to accommodate you. In the short term it is quite common for our mentors to take a week off and this is as far as possible, pre-arranged. In the long term we understand that circumstances can change and will support you through all stages of your mentoring whatever happens.
- Can I mentor as part of a work placement?
Mentoring requires you to commit a few hours a week for one year. If this satisfies the conditions of your placement then please feel free to contact us to discuss more or fill out an application form.
- Mentoring sounds quite tricky – is it?
‘’My mentee can sometimes feel like my best friend’’. This sums up the relaxed nature of some of our mentoring relationships. Whilst it is not always that easy, most of our young people thrive on the 1:1 time you can offer and really look forward to their weekly sessions – as do our mentors. We want to make sure all young people get the opportunity to play and explore in the safety of a constructive environment, with a positive adult role model. All you need is a listening ear, a guiding hand and a truckload of imagination.
- I can’t commit to the mentoring scheme. Are there any other volunteering opportunities?
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved here at the Island! Alongside our 1:1 mentoring we also operate a school based mentoring scheme and two youth groups. We are always after enthusiastic people to give us a helping hand, so if you’re interested please do get in touch.
Prospective mentees / parents / carers
- What exactly is a mentor?
A mentor is a friendly person who will take you / your child out each week to explore different activities and to listen if you would like to talk about anything. You will probably want to get to know each other in the first few weeks and after that you may feel like you’ve always known each other. A mentor will help you with things if you want them to and will always treat you with kindness and respect
- How long will it take to be matched with a mentor?
Whilst we aim to process each referral as quickly as possible, there is no set time frame for this as circumstances differ for each case. After your referral has been assessed we will do our best to match you with a mentor quickly. Whilst this is taking place, you will be allocated to one of our groups (if you choose) – North and South Island, where you can take part in group activities fortnightly. These groups are specifically for those people awaiting allocation of their mentor. Take a look at our group page. [link to North/South Island page]
- How long are sessions expected to last?
Typically, sessions last between 1-3 hours, it all depends on the activity and the young person. Occasionally mentors may like to take their young person on a day trip but this will always be organised with you beforehand. Each individual relationship is different and you will find that you soon establish a routine.
- What kind of things will happen on the sessions?
This is entirely up to you! Whether you would just like to sit and chat somewhere, go swimming or try a new club, whatever it is, talk to your mentor and you can most probably do it. Why not take a look what some of our current mentees (link to 1:1 mentor page) get up to for some ideas of what you might like to do with your mentor.
- Will I get on with my mentor?
We hope that you and your mentor will have a great time together, however we are always here to talk to if you have any concerns about the mentoring. It can be difficult at first when spending time with someone new, but this is natural and you will probably find you get to know each other in no time. Why not read some of our previous mentoring relationships (link to download case studies from Meet Volunteer page) or take a look at what previous children and young people have said here. (Link to About us – Testimonials).
- Will I need to bring anything with me?
You will not need to take anything with you on your sessions, unless this has been previously arranged with your mentor. All you need is yourself and maybe a coat!
- Will my child be contactable during sessions?
The Island has a duty phone that is contactable whilst sessions take place. If your child has a mobile phone they are welcome to take this on sessions, however we do ask that the mentoring is as much as possible a time for the child to have space away from the home. Contact details between carers and mentor will be passed on, if appropriate, after the first month of sessions.
- Will I receive feedback from the Island?
Sessions are designed to be mainly child-led and to allow the mentee space away from their stressors. With this in mind, we keep things discussed in the sessions confidential. However, whilst we do not provide specific feedback about how sessions are going, if you have any concerns or would just like a general update then please contact us or catch up with the mentor at the end of a mentoring session. Similarly if any concerns do arise during the session that we feel you need to be made aware of, we will let you know as appropriate. You will most likely be given regular updates by your child!
Thinking about Referring?
- Who can make a referral to the Island?
Anyone who has concerns about a child or young person can make a referral to the Island. We often receive referrals from parents, social services, schools and other charitable organisations working with our children and young people.
- How long will my referral take to process?
Whilst we aim to process each referral as quickly as possible, there is no set time frame for this as circumstances differ for each case. After your referral has been assessed we will match the young person with a suitable mentor and carry out an initial supervised visit in which the young person and mentor will meet
- What are the criteria for referring?
If you have worries or concerns about a young person’s behaviour or well-being and feel they would benefit from the mentoring service then we would love to hear from you. There are no specific set criteria for referring a young person to our service. If you have any queries before making a referral please feel free to get in touch.
- Who will know about my referral?
Once your referral is received, our assessment team will read through it initially. If all the fields are filled in and the information shows that the young person would benefit from the mentoring service, we will contact the parent/ carer to organise a time to go and meet with them and the young person. When you make your referral, we do ask that if possible parents / carers are made aware and also the young person to see if they would like a mentor. After this stage, we communicate mainly through the family and appreciate knowing all other agencies working with the young person, and school being attended, so to be able to contact them if necessary.