The Befriending and mentoring program at Assert has been up and running in its current form since the middle of 2017. The aim is to train current volunteers and more recently Assert members to act as mentors to those members who have identified a specific area of need. These can be linked to job hunting and CV writing or writing official letters to professional bodies, doctors or hospitals. We also have members who are more interested in a befriender who they can meet and chat with over coffee or go for a walk locally. Typically these meetings take place every one to two weeks either at Community Base, in a local coffee shop or the library if computers are needed.
All mentors and befrienders attend training to discuss boundaries and the limits of the mentoring relationship and are DBS checked. I keep a list of members who have expressed an interest in having a mentor or a befriender and once there is a volunteer trained I think would be a good match I set up an initial meeting where both people can meet and see if they feel they could work together. At this point either person still has the opportunity to back out if they feel the match is not suitable. Having a person you feel you can talk to is the most important part of the mentor/mentee match so both people need to be happy with the match in order for it to have a chance of being successful.
Once both people are happy with the match they have a contract to sign that lays out the boundaries clearly for both the volunteer and the member. These also give specifics of meeting places, times, how to contact each other, what to do if something goes wrong and an estimated end date. The relationships tend to last 6 months but can be shorter or slightly longer depending on the needs of the individual member.
If you are interested in having a mentor, befriender or becoming a mentor yourself please contact me to discuss it further.
Sue Burchett email@example.com 07950 277 420/01273 234 853