The Mentoring Programme

Overview

Established in March 2016, the Mentoring Programme trains volunteer mentors to provide weekly one-to-one support and advice to young refugees and asylum-seekers in line with their goals and aspirations.

Due to the complex social, psychological, and practical challenges many young people face when trying to settle into their new communities, our holistic and youth-focused mentoring approach enables young people to develop the independence skills, support networks, and confidence they need to achieve their full potential.

Meet Jemal and Vici

Meeting each week in a local café, Vici and Jemal worked together for 6 months to achieve his goals of enrolling at college, improving his English, and accessing new services.

“Mentoring has had a big impact on me, my mentor makes me feel not alone, giving me a hand and always being cheerful. She gives me confidence and teaches me to be strong. The best thing about mentoring is that you get to meet people who you would never usually get to, who can help with education and help you to achieve your goals.”

Jemal, 17, Eritrea

What we offer

We provide tailored one-to-one support and advice to young people according to their needs and aspirations. Each young person referred to us will receive 2-3 hours of mentoring a week for 6 months in a local cafe or library. Their dedicated mentor can offer support with:

  • Practicing English
  • Enrolment advice
  • Study skills
  • Confidence building
  • Independence skills
  • Accessing local services and activities
  • Practical and emotional support
  • Mapping future goals
  • Learning about the UK

Eligibility

We provide mentoring to young people who are:
  • Between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • An asylum-seeker or refugee.
  • Living within Greater London.
  • Able to commit to weekly mentoring sessions.
We do not currently provide mentoring for young people who are:
  • Aged under 16 or over 25.
  • Living outside of Greater London.
  • Experiencing significantly high needs that are not being professionally addressed elsewhere.

How our Mentoring Programme works

Our Mentoring Programme is youth-focused and needs-led so that we can adapt and respond to young people’s diverse backgrounds, unique attributes, and goals for the future.

  • Referral

    We receive referrals from a wide range of charities, local authorities, and colleges across London. We work closely with our partners to discuss the young person’s needs in more detail and ensure that our mentoring programme is right for each young person.

  • Initial Assessment

    One of our Mentoring Coordinators will arrange a face-to-face meeting with the young person and the referrer to carry out an Initial Assessment. This is a chance for us to introduce ourselves, answer any questions, and get to know more about the young person’s character, current challenges, and ambitions for the future.

  • Matching

    Our Mentoring Coordinators will use their fantastic matching skills to begin looking for the perfect mentor. Our diverse pool of mentors have a range of ages, backgrounds and skills which allow us to establish strong and effective matches in line with the young person’s interests, personality, and aspirations.

  • Introduction

    We will then arrange an introductory meeting together with the Mentoring Coordinator, mentor, and mentee in a local café or library. We will go through our mentoring agreement, discuss potential targets, and answer any final questions before mentoring begins!

  • Goal Setting

    In the first few weeks, the mentor will support their mentee to set three goals that they would like to achieve during their time together. This could be anything from improving English, joining a local football team, or enrolling on a new college course. The mentor and mentee will then meet up every week for 6 months to work towards achieving these targets.

  • Feedback and Reviews

    Our Mentoring Coordinators will carry out regular reviews to see how the mentoring relationship is progressing and provide feedback and support when necessary. We also ask all our mentors to submit feedback forms after every meeting so we can keep track of each relationship and respond to any question or concerns.

  • Final Review

    After 6 months the Mentoring Coordinator will arrange a final review to reflect on the relationship, recognise achievements, and celebrate success! Depending on individual circumstances, it may be possible to extend the relationship to give mentees a chance to complete any outstanding goals.

How to apply for Mentoring?

If you or a young person you support would like to be referred for mentoring, please click “Mentoring Referral Form” below and complete our referral form. If the young person is eligible, one of our Mentoring Coordinators will contact you to discuss the referral and to arrange an initial assessment. After this, the young person will be allocated a dedicated mentor and the mentoring process will begin.

Mentee FAQS

Who is a mentee?

Our mentees are young refugees and asylum seekers, aged 16-25, who are living in London and would like extra support with everything from English and homework, to accessing services, learning about London or finding volunteering opportunities.

Mentors can be anyone who lives or works in London. Our mentors come from all professions and backgrounds, but most importantly they are all people who want to help! They are also volunteers, which means that they are not paid for their time as a mentor.

When we meet you for an initial assessment, we will also ask if you have any preferences for a mentor (i.e. man/woman, older/younger, any particular skills), so that we can match you with somebody you feel comfortable with!

Mentoring is a supportive relationship with an adult, who you meet once a week in a public place (like a coffee shop or library) for a period of six months. Mentoring can offer you guidance and support with your goals. Together, you will setup three targets to work towards, which could be related to English, your education, interests or current challenges.

There are many things a mentor can support with, but here are just a few examples:

  • Practising your English
  • Helping with your homework and studies
  • Accessing college and education
  • Discussing future goals
  • Finding out about services and activities
  • Growing your support network
  • Building confidence
  • Learning about London
  • Helping with practical tasks

If we have a mentor available who can offer support with these subjects, we may be able to match you with them, but as our mentoring is holistic, we usually prioritise young people who need support with a variety of things.

We try to match you with a mentor as soon as possible after your initial assessment although it can take up to a few weeks to organise an introductory meeting. If there are reasons we cannot find a suitable mentor, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Mentoring is a professional one-to-one relationship, designed to help with your specific goals. However, if you would feel more comfortable with a friend or family member in the first few sessions, then please just let us know and we can arrange this together.

– A therapist is trained to support with your mental health. You can talk to your mentor about your feelings but they are not qualified to provide professional counselling or therapy.

– A solicitor is trained to support you with your asylum claim or other legal issues. A mentor cannot help with your asylum claim, but they might be able to help you to speak to your solicitor and find out information for you.

– A caseworker can help you with specific challenges related to immigration, housing, benefits, education or social services. Whilst you can share these concerns with a mentor, they would not be able to offer specific advice related to these things.

Try and tell your mentor first as being open and honest is often the best solution. Your mentor may not realise they are doing something you are not happy with. However, if this is not possible please tell your Mentoring Coordinator about any concerns you have. We can discuss these with you and decide the best possible action, or whether you’d like to have a new mentor.

That’s no problem at all. We would just ask for you to let your mentor know in advance. We ask them to do the same if they need to miss a session! However, mentoring is a weekly commitment between you and your mentor and therefore we expect you to meet most weeks.

Yes, we will cover your travel expenses to and from mentoring, as well as any other expenses during a session, such as food or drink.

Yes, absolutely! Just select “Mentoring Referral Form” on the page above and we will get in touch with you. And if you have any other questions about the Mentoring Programme you can email us at mentoring@hopefortheyoung.org.uk

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

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
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

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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