A voluntary, mutually beneficial and purposeful relationship in which an individual gives time to support another to enable them to make changes in their life.
Mentoring and befriending makes a real difference to people who find themselves struggling, often at a time of change, and find that they need the dedicated support of another person to help them navigate their way through. It covers a range of supportive and purposeful activity involving the development of a relationship in which one person, who is not family or a close friend, gives time to support and encourage another.
Mentoring and befriending is found in a range of settings - within community, statutory and business - and can take place on a one-to-one basis or within groups. Whatever the setting, mentoring and befriending shares the following key elements:
Many people who have experienced the support of a mentor and befriender tell us that it marked a turning point in their life, helping them to build new networks of support, increase their self-confidence, develop new skills and change their life for the better.
There are four main purposes for mentoring and befriending activity:
Our mentoring and befriending happens both formally and informally, but often, to make a real difference, it needs to be supported by good training, supervision and management. Volunteers often come from the project's local community to support a particular group of people or age group.
This could be:
Our mentoring and befriending relationships are mutually beneficial with both the service users and volunteers finding their involvement rewarding as it offers an excellent opportunity for personal development and obtaining new skills and experiences as well as a chance to put something back into the community.