Frequently asked questions

We hope the following questions and answers cover everything you’d like to know. If we still haven’t answered your question, please get in touch with us directly on 0207 281 5858 x228.

What does a Chance UK mentor do?

Our mentors commit to the programme for one whole year. You’ll meet with your matched child every week (weekends or after school) for 2-4 hours. You’ll plan fun yet purposeful activities each week, designed to build the child’s confidence. Sessions should be “problem-free” time for the child, away from the pressures they face at home and at school. You’ll need to write a session report each week to send to your Programme Manager and you’ll be asked to meet your Programme Manager once a month for a supervision meeting.

What is the application process?
  • You’ll have a phone information session with a Chance UK staff member
  • You’ll send us your completed application form
  • We’ll send you a DBS (police background check) form to complete
  • We’ll invite you to attend our mandatory training
  • We’ll invite you for an interview
What does training cover? Do I need to attend all three days?

Our training is designed to put applicants in the best position for success as a Chance UK mentor. It is essential that everyone who applies completes all three days of training. Our training covers key elements including:

  • The Chance UK solution-focused approach, the theory that underpins all our work with children and families
  • Identifying inner resources and developing them in children
  • How to plan and run your mentoring sessions
  • Communicating with children
  • Keeping children safe and keeping yourself safe
  • Meet active mentors (and possibly some of the children being mentored)
  • Discussions with other trainees and the staff team
  • Interview booking
What does the interview cover?

Your interview will be with two Chance UK staff members. You’ll be asked about the mentor training content and given some scenario-based questions. You’ll also be asked to share details about your life, touching on your childhood, your family background, significant moments in your life and more. We want to get a really good sense of your personal character so that we are able to match you with the most appropriate child. Once you’ve completed your interview and we’ve received your DBS certificate and two professional references, our staff team will collectively decide whether to formally accept you as a mentor.

What happens if I’m not accepted as a mentor?

A senior member of staff will explain to you why the team came to that decision. If you’d like a formal letter outlining this, we’d be happy to do this for you too.

How long should I expect to wait from the time I submit my application to the time I start mentoring?

As a rough guide, a potential mentor should expect to wait 4-6 months from submitting their application to being matched with a child. This usually depends on how soon we have your DBS certificate and two professional references – or if we currently have children that would best benefit from your skills. Matching can be as quick as a few weeks to up to six months in unusual circumstances. If you have been accepted and are waiting to be matched, please stay in touch – especially to update your contact details!

Where can I mentor?

We’re currently looking for volunteers to mentor children in the boroughs of Islington, Westminster and Lambeth. When you fill out your application form, we’ll ask you to rank these boroughs and we’ll do our best to accommodate your preferences.

What kind of availability do I need to have?

You’ll need to be available to do weekly mentoring sessions either after school or at the weekends. Mentoring sessions always take place outside of school hours. Mentoring sessions don’t need to take place on the same day every week. We’ll make sure we match you with a child with similar availability to you. You’ll schedule mentoring sessions each week with the child’s parent/carer.

You’ll need to spend a small amount of time each week planning your session and writing a session report. You’ll also need to come in to our Finsbury Park office once a month for a supervision meeting with your designated Programme Manager.

What will I have to do on sessions?

This mainly depends on the child’s interests, what you’re willing to try and the skills you decide to develop together! Local parks, libraries and cafés can form regular venues for working on projects or practicing a chosen activity. Other venues such as sports centres, museums or galleries offer good opportunities for having fun, getting to know each other, using up energy, trying something new – or learning what the child isn’t interested in! Every session is a new opportunity for progress or learning.

What expenses are involved?

We don’t want our volunteers to be out of pocket due to mentoring. We reimburse mentors up to £30 a month for session expenses and up to £40 a month for travel expenses.

How much contact would I have with the child’s family?

All your sessions will be booked via the child’s parent/carer. You will collect the child from them (or another agreed safe adult) at their home. This is the only contact you’re likely to have with the child’s family. You should not accept contact with the child or family members via social media sites – mentoring relationships are real-world only!

Can I take the child out with my friends or family?

No. The child you mentor can only ever have contact with you.

Can I take a holiday during my mentoring year?

Yes of course! If you are planning on taking any extended holidays of more than 3 weeks at any one time during the mentoring year, this may not be the right time for you to mentor a child. But normal holiday breaks are fine.

Why do you have a no-contact policy at the end of the year?

We take responsibility for all the relationships that we create. While we are supervising and managing these relationships, we can ensure that everyone involved is appropriately safeguarded. At the end of the mentoring year, you will sign a no-contact contract agreeing no more contact between the child and you. If the child or family tries to contact you after the mentoring is over, you should let us know so that we can check in on them.

The end of the mentoring year is a chance for the child to experience the positive and planned ending of a relationship. We put a lot of effort in to ensuring that everyone is prepared for the mentoring year to come to an end; the final months of the year are collaboratively planned and discussed with the child, parent/carer and mentor. We mark the end with a graduation ceremony to celebrate the child’s progress and recognise the achievements child and mentor have made over the year.

Can I carry on mentoring after one year?

All mentoring relationships must come to a close after 12 months. This allows us to offer a fair service to all the children referred to us. If you would like to carry on mentoring after your Chance UK graduation, Chance UK would be happy to discuss matching you with another child.

What skills/experiences do I need to become a mentor?

You do not need to have worked with children before to become a mentor, though it may be beneficial. Our comprehensive training will put you in a good position to become a successful Chance UK mentor. We look out for positive characteristics in our applicants – you should be committed, resilient, open-minded, empathetic and you’ll need a good sense of humour!

Am I too old or too young to be a mentor?

Mentors have to be over 18 years old. There is no upper age limit – we’re interested in what you can do rather than how old you are.

Can I mentor if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record won’t necessarily exclude you from mentoring. You will need to mention that you have a criminal record on your application form and you should contact the appropriate Senior Programme Manager as soon as possible for a private and confidential discussion. Your DBS certificate will only be seen and verified by these select senior staff.
Islington Senior Programme Manager – Ross Adams 02072815858 ext 208
Westminster and Lambeth Senior Programme Manager – Caroline Hopkins 02072815858 ext 214

What will I gain from the experience?
  • The knowledge that you’ve made a genuine difference to a child’s life
  • New skills including: leadership, organisation, mentoring, planning
  • New knowledge: training covers topics such as solution-focused techniques and safeguarding practice
  • Meet new people and be a support to a family
  • Explore new parts of London and activities you wouldn’t have done otherwise
  • You can request a reference at the end of the year from your Programme Manager