Volunteer Mentoring

Volunteers are ordinary people like you making an extraordinary difference.

Young people from care have faced difficult life challenges, and many have very little consistent family support. We believe they deserve good people in their life around them, offering encouragement, guidance and fun. For just a few hours a fortnight you can have a lasting impact on their future. 

With time we hope they will feel they can turn to you when they need someone to talk to or spend time with.

Free activity sessions!

Spend time with some of Break’s team and incredible young people at fun activity sessions in Norwich or King’s Lynn. Activities range from pizza making to Virtual Reality adventures or a game of pool.

After the session, if you choose to apply to be a mentor you’ll receive full training and ongoing support from our experienced team. Email mentoring@break-charity.org to find out when the next activity session is happening.

What happens in a mentoring session?

No mentor relationship is the same! What happens in a session varies, here are some of our stories:

Tom’s mentor helped him get his CV up to scratch and find his first job, being there to talk through the worries we all had during the vulnerable time of starting out. He doesn't have family to ask for advice but having a mentor has meant he deals with situations at work in a useful way, and has made great relationships there. 

Ben asked his mentor to help him join a local tennis club, giving him the confidence to walk in the door and now they train together. 

Abbey is 21 and is struggling to find structure and purpose in her life. Her mentor is helping her by encouraging to try new things and having a consistent schedule for when they meet. Abbey feels safe with her mentor and is enjoying going swimming, visiting museums and going for drives with her. 

Kelly is creative so we matched her with an artistic mentor. They love going to the theatre together and meeting up for crafting and cake! 

Caroline and her mentor both have young children, and Caroline will call when she needs help with something, wants parenting advice or just wants to have a chat. Speaking on the phone is exactly what Caroline needs, and fits in well with her busy schedule.  

Who will I be supporting?

Break support’s children, young adults and families across East Anglia. We currently need mentors in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

You could support: 

  • Children and teenagers in the care of our children’s homes or foster families aged 11-18 years old. 
  • Young people who have had to leave care at just 18 years old, walking alongside them into adulthood. 
  • Young parents. 

By the nature of needing to come into care, most of our young people have experienced upheaval and change. Some young people have disabilities. To help provide them all with the stability and consistency they need, we ask mentors to pledge to be there for their mentee for at least 12 months, and we will provide you with all the support you need along the way.

But don’t worry, you can have an informal chat with our team first to find out if this is the right step for you, just get in touch.

What makes a good mentor?

You may have had an informal mentor in your own youth without realising it. A teacher who always made you feel heard? A sports coach who motivated you to the next goal? Or maybe a relative who made time to help you out?  

We know that ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference just by being there as a safe and consistent adult for the younger generation. Our young people are diverse, so we need volunteers from diverse backgrounds too.  

You will be: 

  • 21 years or over. 
  • Calm, friendly and a good listener. 
  • Empathic and non-judgemental. 
  • Enjoy nurturing the potential in young people. 
  • Happy to be active. 
  • Able to adhere to our safeguarding policy. 
  • Keen to empower the young person to discover who they are and make positive life choices. 
  • Our young people have said that top of their list is a good sense of humour!

A positive step for you too

Whilst supporting young people as they go through the ups and downs in life is not always easy, it is incredibly rewarding. You’ll:

  • Have the privilege of being there for young people during such vital stages of their life. 
  • Try activities and hobbies that might even be new to you! 
  • Gain experience supporting young people that you could use as a step into a long-term career. 
  • Receive training that boosts both your personal knowledge and your CV. 
  • Widen your insight into life for the care experienced community. 
  • Enjoy an increased sense of purpose. 
  • The chance to make a difference. 

I’m interested. What next?

Got questions first? Get in touch for an informal chat with our Mentoring.

If you are ready, register your interest via this easy online form.

Complete our application form and you will be invited to an interview, so we can get to know you and you can find out more about us.

You will be invited onto our training programme and a post-training reflection, led by experienced professionals.

We will request references and complete an enhanced criminal records check with you. 

Once matched with a young person, we will be there with you for the first sessions, and then provide regular support onwards through your mentoring journey.

How much time do I need to commit?

We recommend that you meet with your mentee once every two weeks, in order to build your relationship. As time goes on this might change and we are happy for you and your mentee to find your own rhythm. For some it works well to meet less often but catch up on the phone more, and for others meeting in person works the best. 

I work full-time, can I still mentor?

Absolutely! You and your mentee can meet up whenever works for you both, it can be daytime, evenings or weekends. 

How many training and supervision sessions will there be?

Before you start you will complete online training in Safeguarding, Professional Boundaries and Mental Health training. These are independent so can be at a time to suit you from home. As a mentor you have access to Break’s full training brochure with optional further training. 

Supervision sessions with the mentoring team are quarterly.  

We also organise mentoring workshops, where you can ask questions, share learning and meet other mentors. We try to plan these according to the availability of the group as much as possible.

Will mentoring cost me anything?

The training is free to our volunteer mentors. We will reimburse your agreed mileage and expenses. 

What training do you offer?

You have access to much of Break’s training programmes. Take a peek here.

I have a criminal record, can I still apply?

Yes you can. Certain convictions would exclude you from being able to mentor, but contact us for an informal chat if you would like to find out more. 

Do I need a driving license?

It’s helpful but not essential. We will try to match you with someone who lives in your area, or somewhere that is easily accessible by public transport. 

I don’t have experience with children, can I still apply?

Yes. Our young people come from a range of different backgrounds, so we need mentors from lots of different backgrounds and life experiences too. 

What happens if things aren’t going well?

The Mentoring Team will be there to support you and provide guidance. Matching is not an accurate science and sometimes a mentor or mentee might feel it isn’t right. This isn’t anyone’s fault and we will always try to rematch if the initial relationship doesn’t work out.  

Break’s mentoring programme is funded by the generosity of Break’s charitable supporters, alongside funding for our MEN-tor programme from Norfolk Community Foundation. 

*Some names and details have been changed to protect the identity of young people.