It is a one-to-one, non-judgemental relationship where you volunteer your time to support and encourage someone.
Many people benefit from the support of a mentor or befriender at a time of change in their life or when they are socially isolated due to illness or old age.
The main difference between the two is the emphasis placed on goals.
Mentoring focuses more on goal setting within a time-limited process whereas befriending tends to develop more informal, supportive relationships, often over a longer period of time.
If you live in or have a strong association to the Greater Manchester area, then look no further and complete our online referral form.
If you are from outside of the area, then you can register your interest to volunteer with NCVO and find your local volunteering centre at https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/i-want-to-volunteer
If the person you are finding a mentor or befriender for, lives in or has a strong association with the Greater Manchester area, then you are in the right place.
Simply complete our third party online referral form on their behalf, but please make sure that you have gained their consent to the referral.
If you live outside the area, then there are many websites that offer mentoring and befriending.
You can start your search by visiting the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation at https://www.ncvo.org.uk/component/redshop/1-publications/P182-how-to-find-a-mentor-or-befriender
We accept most people over the age of 18, who have a keen interest in helping other people.
If you live in the Greater Manchester area, then even better, as you'll already have local knowledge, which can be invaluable when volunteering.
If you're interested in volunteering, then all you have to do, is complete our online application form and you will be invited for an interview prior to training. You will also need to include two character references alongside your application form.
In order to work with vulnerable people, then a volunteer will need to satisfy enhanced DBS checks, this may exclude some individuals from volunteering with us.
If you're unsure as to whether you would qualify, then contact us to discuss your individual circumstances in more detail.
The training will equip you with all the necessary skills in order to either mentor or befriend an individual.
Our training currently in non-accredited, but covers the following materials: Mentoring theory and practice, motivational interviewing, restorative practices, communication, confidentiality and safeguarding.
The training is provided by our Operational Support worker and is currently in-house training.
We hope that in the future we can work alongside adult education, to accredit this training, to further enhance the volunteering journey.
Once trained, we ask that volunteers commit to spending at least 8 hours per month with us, which equates to 2 hours per week.
It's really important that once you begin to mentor or befriend someone, that you are consistent in your approach and are available weekly (with the exception of holidays or sickness of course).
We find that most of our volunteers prefer to spend more than 2 hours per week with the people they are supporting, as being a mentor and/or befriender is rewarding for both parties.
Mentoring can be a rewarding experience, as you are involved in watching someone develop and grow, meeting the goals and achievements they identify.
Mentoring another person can also be useful in terms of gaining experience, learning new skills, increasing employability and so on.
We currently accept anyone over the age of 18, who can satisfy our entry requirements in terms of commitment, references and DBS.
There is a thought, that mentors should be older with more life experience than their mentees; however, there is a growing movement of a concept called 'reverse mentoring' whereby a younger person, may mentor someone older than themselves, for example, learning to navigate social media!
After you complete the training, you will submit your availability and preferences in either mentoring or befriending.
You then may have a little wait, until you are matched with a mentee or befriendee.
Matching is done mindful of risk, personality, likes and dislikes, to ensure that the mentoring or befriending journey is as straightforward as possible.
The training is delivered at a pace that volunteers find comfortable and can take up to 8 weeks.
Training is usually negotiated with the trainer as a group, as some groups prefer to have longer sessions over a shorter duration and vice versa.
The role of the mentor is diverse and will be dependent upon your mentees individual needs, as some mentees may require more intense support than others.
The general skills of a mentor is the ability to motivate and guide someone else, whilst empowering them to make positive changes.
As a mentor, all out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
We currently reimburse travel and refreshments (with conditions).
More than the financial aspect, we hope that you will feel that mentoring is personally a rewarding experience and you will gain new skills, connect with more people, help others and increase your employability.
You should meet with your mentee at a minimum once per week.
For some mentors, they are fine to offer additional support and prefer to meet their mentees more than this. This will be agreed with your mentee in the contract phase of the mentoring cycle.
A mentor needs to be non-judgemental, kind, caring, compassionate, trustworthy, boundaried, honest and reliable....to name a few! Our training will teach the importance of these skills in greater detail.
The length of a mentoring journey can be negotiated with the mentee, as some relationships will be very focused and short-lived, whereas some will be longer in duration.
It is important to be up front and honest, if you can only volunteer for a specific period, so that your mentee does not feel let down or abandoned.
Mentoring with Society Inc is voluntary and unfortunately we are unable to pay people for their time.
In terms of finances, out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
A DBS check is a process that volunteers must go through, to minimise the risk of them working with vulnerable mentees.
DBS is a check via the Police, to ensure that you do not have any convictions, which would restrict you working with either adults at risk of children.
Some criminal convictions can be risk assessed, but there are some that cannot and will exclude you from working with children and/or adults at risk.
Honesty is the best policy and it is best to list your convictions on your application form prior to DBS, as we are often able to advise potential volunteers, if we will be unable to proceed with your application based upon previous convictions.
In some instances, people who have been in similar shoes to some of our mentees, can be the best at helping others, so we definitely have an open mind when it comes to working with volunteers who have been involved in the criminal justice field.
If you're unsure, please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.
There are alternative roles with Society Inc if you feel that mentoring or befriending isn't for you.
Please contact us, to discuss your skill set and how you feel you can be of assistance.
If you have a strong connection to or live in the Greater Manchester area, then look no further!
Complete our online self-referral form and we will be in touch, to offer you a match.
There are many services that offer befriending. Unfortunately, services for befriending are in demand and at times have a waiting list, depending upon the area in which you live.
The mentoring and befriending foundation have an online web directory of services in the Greater Manchester area. This can be found by visiting https://www.ncvo.org.uk/component/redshop/1-publications/P182-how-to-find-a-mentor-or-befriender
If you're looking to find someone you know a befriender, then please ensure that you have the persons consent before you pass on their details and complete our online third-party referral form, providing the person you are referring lives in or has a strong connection to the Greater Manchester area.
For people living outside of our catchment area, then please visit https://www.ncvo.org.uk/component/redshop/1-publications/P182-how-to-find-a-mentor-or-befriender
A befriending service is slightly different to mentoring in that the relationship usually lasts longer and is not as focused on goals or making changes as mentoring.
Befrienders will usually meet the befriendee in a community location that is negotiated between the two.
There are no contracts or actions plans and the relationship can stretch for as long as required. Often befrienders and befriendees make lasting and meaningful relationships which can develop into long-term friendships over time.
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a befriender as long as they live in or have a strong association with the area, for example, have grown up in or work in the area, are registered with a Greater Manchester GP, have family and friends already in the area.
It should be noted that Society Inc can only support people who live in the Greater Manchester area.
Timescales can vary, based upon demand.
We hope to match a befriender with their befriendee within a month of referral; however, this cannot always be achieved, due to background checks, risk assessment and DBS.