Mentoring Project

OVERVIEW

Young refugees and asylum seekers who have entered the UK face a series of obstacles: language barriers, lack of social support, and a long period of uncertainty while they are waiting for their immigration status to be decided. As a result, they suffer social exclusion and can become disaffected with their life in the UK. Those with no work permit can become destitute.

Hope for the Young’s Mentors support these young people overcome these obstacles by working on mutually agreed targets tailored to the young people’s needs.

We offer help to young people:

  • Up to the age of 25
  • Who are an asylum seeker OR refugee
  • Who are assessed as vulnerable

We will provide tailored support and advice to help young people – according to their needs. They will receive 2-3 hours a week with their dedicated mentor who will offer one-to-one support as appropriate through:

  • Language development
  • Enrolment advice
  • Study skills
  • Confidence building
  • Emotional Support
  • Increasing access to services

If you or a young person you support would like to apply for mentoring, please send us a referral form (see below). If the young person is eligible, one of our Project Coordinators will contact you and/or the young person to arrange an initial assessment of his/her needs. After this, the young person will be allocated a dedicated mentor and the mentoring process will begin. We aim to process applications within 4 weeks.

Young people who are eligible for financial support can also be referred to our Education Fund for consideration.

To apply, download the referral form below by clicking on “DOWNLOAD REFERRAL FORM”, (if you are having problem downloading the file, right click on the link and choose Save As). Once the file is downloaded to your computer, complete the form, save it, and send it back to us as an attachment to mentoring@hopefortheyoung.org.uk
DOWNLOAD REFERRAL FORM

We aim to establish a pool of Volunteer Mentors with different ages, cultural backgrounds, skills and interests. We look for volunteers who are available to travel to meet their Mentees on a weekly basis for a minimum of 6 months.

We will provide you with an induction, training and expenses, and you will be expected to attend our Volunteer Workshops which take place four times per year.

If you would like to become a Volunteer Mentor, please email us at mentoring@hopefortheyoung.org.uk. We will then send you an application form and explain the next steps in the application process.

“I liked the sessions every week for an hour. My Mentor is an amazing guy and we’ve done lots of amazing things. He makes me confident and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be doing carpentry. I would still be doing ESOL English. He helped me a lot. Thank you very much”

Who is a mentor?
Our mentors come from all walks of life, professions and backgrounds. This difference is part of the strength of our project 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 creative a supportive environment for your mentee
• Eagerness to learn and improve your own knowledge and to ask HfTY for support where necessary
• Proactive in finding solutions to a young person’s problems or challenges.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor with us please make an enquiry by emailing mentoring@hopefortheyoung.org.uk

Why become a mentor?
The Mentoring Project does not exist without our dedicated volunteers. They create the valuable and long-lasting relationships that changes people’s lives for the better. They are the ones that the young people 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 the Mentoring Project Coordinators
• 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)

What does the mentor application process look like?
1. Complete and submit an application form with two references
2. Have a telephone interview with the Mentoring Coordinator
3. We’ll invite you to an induction training and arrange a DBS background check for you
4. Attend your induction training session (4-5 hour session split over two evenings)
5. Your Mentoring Coordinator will start the mentor-mentee matching process (this can take a few months)

What are the current dates for applying to become a mentor?
We tend to run four recruitment rounds per year depending on our capacity and current need for Mentors. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor for Hope for the Young, please make an enquiry by emailing mentoring@hopefortheyoung.org.uk and we will add you to our waiting list!

Can I start any sooner?
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 a few months before we can find you a suitable mentee.

What do you cover in your induction training?
Our induction training lasts for approximately 4-5 hours and happens over two 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, 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!

What if I miss my induction date?
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to match you before you attend a full induction, but you will be first on the list for our next training dates.

Is there any additional training? And are these compulsory?
Yes, we run additional quarterly training workshops and attendance is compulsory for all mentors. These workshops provide great opportunities to up-skill in particular areas such as supporting young people with their English, working with trauma survivors, as well as other issues affecting asylum-seekers and refugees in the UK.

What areas of support are Mentors expected to focus on? Or do they focus on one specific area (i.e. education)?
Most of the young people we support have a range of needs, however our mentoring project is designed to be holistic and tailored to the young person. You and your young person 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 our other key objectives. These include confidence and trust building, developing independent living skills and building knowledge of local activities and services.

What processes are in place to ensure the safety of both the mentor and young person when they are meeting one-on-one?
The safety of our young people and our mentors is always our first priority. 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 Mentoring Coordinator, or another safeguarding officer at Hope for the Young, will always be available in case of emergencies.

Do I get a choice over who I am matched with?
We look for the best possible match for each mentor and mentee, after which we will send you some information about your potential mentee to ask if you would like to be their mentor. We encourage all mentors to raise any concerns and ask any questions at this stage, so you feel confident in being able to provide the right support before you start.

Where are the young people you support from?
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!

How many hours will I need to commit each week?
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 odd excursion or trip to somewhere special in London!

I’m going on holiday – does this mean I can’t mentor someone?
We understand if you need to take a short 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.

I already have a DBS check. Does that mean I can start sooner?
We require a new DBS check for all new mentors, unless you are on the DBS online update service for working with both adults and children.

What does a successful mentoring relationship look like?
All our mentoring relationships are different. At the beginning of the relationship you will agree three key targets with your mentee, which should be related to our six key skills: confidence, trust, independent living skills, knowledge of activities & services, English language, and education and career. 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!