Become a Mentor

Transform a young refugee's life: Become a Volunteer Mentor.

Why become a Mentor

By becoming a mentor with Hope for the Young, you will have the opportunity to transform a young person’s life in your local community. Our mentors work with their mentees each week to improve their English, enrol in education, access local services and activities, make new friends, and build the confidence and independence skills they need to settle into their new communities and reach their true potential.

If you are passionate about supporting young refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK and think you have what it takes to join our dedicated team of mentors at Hope for the Young, we would love to hear from you!

Meet Catherine

Arriving in the UK in 1973 from Trinidad, Catherine knows the importance of being made to feel welcome when arriving in a new country. Having now retired from a 37-year career in mental health nursing and psychotherapy, Catherine uses her spare time to support young refugees to settle into their communities and build the confidence they need to reach their potential.

I have watched my mentee grow in confidence, in self belief, in his social skills, in his personal care and his desire to learn English. My own experiences with mentees and those that I have heard about from other Hope for the Young mentors, have convinced me that once these young people have reached our country after generally harrowing experiences, it’s our duty to give them all the multifaceted help that we can afford.

Catherine, Volunteer Mentor

How to become a Mentor?

Any UK resident over 18 can apply to be a volunteer. We are currently recruiting on a rolling basis and aim to establish a pool of volunteers of different ages, cultural backgrounds & skills. We will provide you with an induction and all the necessary training required.

  • Application Form

    To apply to become a mentor, the first step is to read the Role Description and complete and submit a full Application Form and an Equal Opportunities Form. We will require information about your relevant skills, interests, and availability.

  • Interview

    One of our Mentoring Coordinators will be in touch to invite you to an interview where they will assess your suitability and commitment to mentoring and give you an opportunity to ask any questions about the role.

  • DBS and References

    As part of your application, we will need you to provide two professional references and we will also ask you to complete an enhanced DBS check to ensure that you’re safe to work with children and vulnerable adults.

  • Induction

    You will be invited to attend an induction with other new mentors where you will receive all the necessary training and information you need to become one of our dedicated mentors.

  • You're Ready To Go!

    Once you have completed your induction, you will become part of Hope for the Young’s amazing mentoring community. We will then get in touch with you as soon as we’ve been referred a young person who we think you will make a great match for!

Mentor FAQs

Who is a mentor?

Our mentors come from all walks of life, professions and backgrounds. These differences are part of the strength of our programme and allows us to explore fantastic matches between mentors and mentees, based on shared interests, experiences and personalities. There are, however, some core values which our successful mentors share:

• Passionate to make a difference in the life of a young refugee or asylum seeker
• Warmth, openness and patience
• Willingness to listen and create a supportive environment for your mentee
• Eagerness to learn and improve your own knowledge and to ask Hope for the Young for support where necessary
• Proactive in finding solutions to a young person’s problems or challenges.

The Mentoring Programme does not exist without our dedicated volunteers. By becoming a mentor you will have the opportunity to create a valuable and long-lasting relationship that will change a young person’s life for the better. You will be the one that your mentee will look up to for advice and support. Without our volunteers, the young people would continue to be isolated and unable to progress at the rate they should be. But every successful mentoring relationship is a mutual one. In addition to the satisfaction of making this huge impact, you will also benefit from:

• An induction and training program suited to the role of mentoring young refugees and asylum seekers
• Regular meetings and support from your Mentoring Programme Coordinator
• The opportunity to share experiences with other mentors at volunteer meetings and social events
• Valuable experience in developing your mentoring skills with vulnerable young people
• The knowledge that you are making a huge and lasting difference to a young person’s life
• All reasonable expenses (e.g. travel and refreshments during meetings)

We run recruitment rounds throughout the year depending on our capacity and current need for mentors. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor for Hope for the Young, please read the Role Description and complete our Mentor Application Form above and we will get in touch.

Once you become a Mentor, you will be matched when a suitable young person is referred to us. This will be based on a number of factors, including location, availability and specific support needs. This is not always within our control and so it may take up to a few months before we can find you a suitable mentee.

Our induction training lasts for approximately 5 hours and happens over two or three evenings during the week or on one day at the weekend. We will cover a number of topics, including: a full introduction to Hope for the Young and what it means to be a mentor, the asylum system in the UK, different mentoring styles and approaches to working with vulnerable young people, the UK education system and pathway planning, as well as our key safeguarding policies and procedures. There will be various activities and group exercises that will help you get to know your fellow mentors and prepare for the numerous scenarios you may face in your role!

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to match you before you attend a full induction, however, you will be first on the list for our next training dates.

Yes, we run quarterly training workshops and attendance is compulsory for those currently mentoring. These workshops provide great opportunities to up-skill in relevant areas. Specific themes could include: Teaching English, working with young people impacted by trauma, setting targets, building independence skills, as well as many other topics affecting asylum-seekers and refugees in the UK.

Most of the young people we support have a range of needs, however our mentoring programme is designed to be holistic and tailored to each young person. You and your mentee will set three targets together at the beginning of the relationship. Whilst one or two of these will often focus on education and learning English, we encourage mentors to support other targets that relate to confidence and trust building, developing independent living skills, and access to local activities and services.

The safety of our young people and our mentors is our number one priority. Enhanced DBS background checks and references are compulsory for all new mentors. All meetings must happen within a public space (a café or library) and be reported on through session feedback forms. We have a strict safeguarding policy in place that you will be introduced to at your induction, however your designated safeguarding officer at Hope for the Young will always be available in case of emergencies.

We will always look for the best possible match for each mentor and mentee. After we have found a good match, we will then send you information about your potential mentee to ask if you would like to be their mentor. It is at this stage that we encourage you to raise any concerns and ask any questions so you feel completely comfortable and confident in being able to provide the right support to your mentee before you start.

Our young people come from all around the world. Some of the young people we are currently supporting and have supported in the past are from Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea, Somalia, Albania, the Sudan, Vietnam and Ethiopia to name only a few!

Our mentors usually meet their young person for about 1-3 hours, once a week, although this is at the discretion of you and your mentee. On average our mentors meet their young person for one and a half hours, however we will expect you to factor in some planning time prior to each session and about 10 minutes after each session to complete a session feedback form. We also encourage the occasional trip to somewhere special in London!

We understand if you need to take a holiday (we all do!) and provided this isn’t more than 3 weeks and you let us know in advance, this would not stop you from becoming a mentor. However, if you were planning to be out of the country for any longer, you’d need to wait until you return to start mentoring. Stability and consistent support is vital to a successful mentoring relationship.

We require a new enhanced DBS check for all new mentors, unless you are registered with the DBS online update service for working with both vulnerable adults and children.

All our mentoring relationships are different. At the beginning of the relationship you will agree three key targets with your mentee. We would hope that by the end of six months that your mentee will have achieved, or made considerable progress, towards your mentee’s three chosen targets. You’ll get lots of support along the way, but it will be largely up to you and your mentee to make it a success!

Other ways to get involved

If you are not able to become a mentor right now, there are still lots of ways you can get involved with Hope for the Young and support young refugees and asylum-seekers in your community!

Meet our Mentors and Mentees!

Fatmata and Niki

17-year-old Fatmata from Sierra Leone finds the confidence she needs to chase her dreams thanks to her mentor, Niki.

Learn More

Hakim and Muzzy

Hakim, originally from Afghanistan, found his feet in the UK with the support of his mentor Muzzy.

Learn More

Abel and Nicole

Abel, a young man from Ethiopia, found the confidence to embrace his identity with the help of his mentor, Nicole.

Learn More
Alex and Dawit stand next to each other, smiling.

Alex and Dawit

Dawit, now 17 years old, had been in the UK for just 4 months when he was matched with his mentor Alex. This is the story of their mentoring journey – the challenges they faced along the way and their remarkable achievements!

Learn More

Vici and Manmohan

Born in Afghanistan, Manmohan aged 23, had been in the UK for three years before being referred to Hope for the Young. Unable to use his arms and legs due to having quadriplegia, he requires round-the-clock care from his parents and cannot travel ...

Learn More

Jemal and Victoria

Jemal, a 17-year-old boy from Eritrea, had been in the UK for one year before being referred to the Mentoring Programme. He was not in education and was suffering from an increasing lack of stimulation whilst going through the complex asylum proce...

Learn More
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