Mentors and befrienders are mainly volunteers who come from the local community and are of any age, from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of life experiences. Sometimes, those who have worked with a mentor or befriender and have experienced the benefits for themselves are inspired to become a volunteer mentor or befriender themselves. It is important to have a broad mix of mentors and befrienders to enable the best possible match with mentees and befriendees. The volunteer mentor and befriender role will vary from project to project but will tend to include some of the following elements:
Although a mentor or befriender may do some or all of the above, they are not a substitute teacher, parent, social worker or counsellor. However, our volunteer mentors and befrienders work very effectively alongside professionals as part of an integrated package of support for individuals.