Volunteer mentors can be instrumental in supporting a guest through important stages, in overcoming challenges and in reaching their full potential. Once a guest has started accessing the charity’s services, a mentor may be brought in to support with a specific action or stage in a guest’s progress with us.
Now, we are expanding the way mentoring is offered to people, along with a more flexible approach to how you can volunteer as a mentor and support a wider range of our guests.
What is mentoring at RESTART?
Mentoring is a two-way positive relationship, with the aim of building capacity and skills in the mentee that will empower them and create independence and self-reliance.
Our training and ongoing support will provide you with the skills and information needed to feel confident about mentoring our guests.
Our mentors support our guests in one or more of the following three ways:
- One-to-one mentor: Paired with an individual guest to build a relationship and mentor on a regular one-to-one basis. Where a one-to-one pairings is to take place, a mentor-guest matching process will take place with the programme manager.
- General mentor: Assigned from a pool of mentors to work with a guest to complete specific tasks, actions or goals in some/all of their support plan.
- Workshop mentor: our workshops, support and discussion groups are designed for our guests on our work-readiness programme and led/co-led by our mentors.
As a mentor, you might support our guests through some of the following activities:
- check-in, offer companionship, a listening ear and act as a sounding board
- set up and apply for a universal credit claim
- develop a CV, job search and make applications
- interview practice e.g. role play questions and answers
- write and check important emails and help with other personal admin tasks
- attend an important meeting e.g. with their caseworker or support worker
- register at a doctor’s surgery
- help a guest transition into accommodation
- offer general advice, guidance, encouragement and support
Focussing and taking time to celebrate the positives and the successes that a guest has achieved, no matter how small, is a big part of what our mentors do. This helps to build confidence, self-esteem and a ‘can do’ attitude amongst our guests.
In addition, a mentor might support RESTART by developing or leading a group workshop or session with a group of guests rather than working directly with one or more individuals.
The restrictions around Covid mean that mentoring and one-to-one support can be challenging and we put the safety of our guests and volunteers above all else. Our approach is flexible, both in terms of the wider ways to mentor and that they can be done in a variety of risk-assessed ways. This might include by appointment in a designated space; by phone; in a group setting with distancing and other safety procedures in place.
Who can apply to be a RESTART mentor?
All of our mentors must:
- be at least 18 years old
- be friendly and non-judgemental
- complete an interview process, short bespoke training modules, reference and DBS checks to become a mentor
- agree to and sign our RESTART volunteering agreement for mentors that covers aims and expectations. We expect volunteers to comply with our policies including health and safety, data protection and code of conduct at all times
- make a minimum commitment of six months
- be able to use their own initiative but ask for help
- be good at listening and interacting with people
- be able to handle sensitive information appropriately
- be committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.
- empathy and understanding of the issues faced by homeless and vulnerable adults
- active listening and good communication
- reliability and effective time management
- maintaining written records
- teamwork and interpersonal skills
- kindness and respect
- emotional resilience
- patience and thoughtfulness
- encouragement / a ‘can do’ attitude!
- eager to learn and develop
We welcome interest from applicants with some experience of supporting or volunteering with vulnerable, homeless or harder to reach groups.
We also welcome applications from people with lived experience of homelessness and related issues.
What you’ll get out of it:
You’ll develop new skills and use your existing talents while gaining experience volunteering in a charity. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you make a difference to people affected by homelessness. You’ll meet new people from a wide range of backgrounds, join an enthusiastic team of people, and have the opportunity to make new friends.
Depending on the mentoring support you are providing, you might be meeting a guest in person (at our Friday night drop-in in Knightsbridge, at our office or in a public space e.g. coffee shop).
During the current Covid-19 pandemic, some of your mentoring might need to be undertaken via email exchanges, telephone discussions and Zoom/video calls.
We are continually following government guidance for charities and weekly reviewing risk assessments which inform how staff and volunteers can operate with guests. We will update you with all our changes throughout the pandemic, do our best to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and keep guests, volunteers and staff as safe as possible at all times.
Time and commitment:
We estimate mentoring will take around eight hours per month and would include mentor meetings, reporting back to RESTART programme manager and any follow-up actions from your mentoring activities, as appropriate.
We ask for a commitment of six months please, during which time you may embark upon more than one mentoring relationship or undertake a number of different mentoring activities – we’re very flexible!
What support you’ll get from us:
- Comprehensive training covering mental health resilience, boundaries, homelessness, RESTART itself and how to mentor our guests. Training will be accompanied by appropriate materials including a handbook
- Regular support via one-to-ones (virtual or in-person) with RESTART programme manager
- Opportunities to meet up with other mentors and share in an informal and confidential setting
- We’ll help you increase your understanding of homelessness and related issues, so you are confident supporting our members/ guests
- Our induction will explain how we operate and our guidelines
- We’ll keep you up to date with our activities via email as well as with informal volunteer get-togethers
- We’ll introduce you to key volunteers and contacts
- We’ll reimburse out of pocket expenses in line with our policy.
How to apply:
If you would like to apply, please complete the simple enquiry form via the link here and we will send you a mentoring candidate pack by email: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfQt5ZgQ_hFFx_mgdRBeFh1siVkxfS5-_-d-Ypbsexp7L–WA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0
Once you have received our application pack, please return the enclosed application form to us. We have extended the application deadline until Monday 15th February 2021.
We are hosting two mentoring information sessions via Zoom at 12noon on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 January if you would like to find out more before applying and ask any questions.
If you have any questions about the role, you can arrange to speak to one of our staff confidentially by contacting us through the website.
Please note, this is an unpaid volunteering role with the charity.
We regret that, due to limited charity resources, we’re unable to offer feedback on individual applications but will do our best to let everyone know if they have been successful or unsuccessful. If you have not heard from us by 26 February, I’m afraid we won’t be taking your application forward at this time.