Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Chance UK mentor do?

Our mentors commit to the programme for nine-twelve months. You’ll meet with your matched child every week (weekends or after school) for 2-4 hours.

You’ll plan activities each week, write a session report after each one to send to your Programme Manager and will be asked to meet your Programme Manager once a month for a supervision meeting.

Our Mentor Stories will give you a better idea about what it’s like to be a Chance UK mentor.

What is the application process?

To find out more about the application process to become a mentor please go to ‘Apply to be a Chance UK Mentor

 Where can I mentor?

We currently match mentors with children in the following boroughs:

  • Islington
  • Camden
  • Croydon
  • Haringey
  • Westminster
  • Lambeth

What does training cover? Do I need to attend all training 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 training days. 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 existing mentors (and possibly some of the children being mentored)
  • Discussions with other trainees and the staff team
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, childhood, family background, significant moments in your life and more. We want to get a really good sense of your personal character and skills 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. We aim to match you with a child within 3 months should you be accepted as a mentor

This usually depends on how soon we have your DBS certificate and two professional references. It can also depend 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.

Where can I mentor?

We run mentoring programmes across London. The specific boroughs in which we offer mentoring is subject to change, please see ‘Where we work’ for the most recent information.

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.

Can I take a holiday during the mentoring programme?

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.

What will I have to do on sessions?

What you do in your sessions depends largely on the child’s interests, what you’re willing to try and the skills you decide to develop together. Although designed to be fun it’s important that your sessions are aligned with the desired outcomes of your mentoring journey. Mentors often find that parks, libraries and cafés can form regular venues for working on projects or practising a chosen activity.

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

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a mentor, however, there are certain attributes that we are looking for, read our Volunteer Role Description for a more detailed outline.

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.

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

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.

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.

Why do you have a no-contact policy after the 9-12 months is over?

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 journey, 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 journey 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 journey to come to an end; the final months of the journey 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 journey.

Can I continue mentoring after the end of our journey?

All mentoring relationships must come to a close after the end of your 9 -12 month programme. This allows us to offer a fair service to all the children referred to us.

If you would like to continue mentoring after your Chance UK graduation, Chance UK would be happy to discuss matching you with another child.

What will I gain from the experience?

Mentoring is a really rewarding experience and by the end of your journey, you’ll know you’ve made a genuine difference to a child’s life. Mentoring can also have a big impact on your life too.

You’ll have lots of fun on your sessions, exploring new parts of London and enjoying activities you might not otherwise have tried. You’ll meet new people, from the child and their family to Chance UK’s team members and mentors.

You’ll develop new skills (including leadership, organisation, mentoring, planning) and gain new knowledge (including solution-focused approach and safeguarding practice). If you need a reference, your Programme Manager will be happy to provide one at the end of your mentoring year.

We hope the questions and answers cover everything you’d like to know. If we still haven’t answered your question, please get in touch by emailing us at


Interested in mentoring? Click here, watch the video and complete the quiz