Be somebody who makes a difference
Some volunteer to support their local community. Some want to directly have a positive impact on someone’s life. Some want to do something challenging. Some want to learn new skills. Volunteering at Chance UK offers all of this.
Whatever your reason for volunteering, we are glad you’re talking to us.
If you know it’s something you want to do, start with our online volunteer application. We are still recruiting new volunteers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst mentor sessions take place virtually.
The numbers look great, but we believe the transformative power of mentoring is best communicated by real stories.
Robert was 5 years old when school referred him to Chance UK. They were concerned about his aggression towards other children, his poor concentration in class, and uncontrollable distress at the school gates when parting from his mother. From a young age Robert had witnessed extreme levels of violence by his father towards his mother.
Robert could be quiet and withdrawn. But with the right mentor we knew he could build a strong, trusting relationship and grow his confidence. Emily was the perfect match. She worked with Robert to draw up a plan of weekly trips and activities that would interest him, build his self-esteem and open him to positive new experiences.
During their mentoring journey they visited a fire station, went ice-skating and made a trip to the theatre – among many other activities that Robert would not ordinarily have been able to do.
Along the way Robert changed. He became more comfortable travelling beyond his immediate neighbourhood. He put his hand up to ask a question during a workshop at the Science Museum – a major step forward in Robert’s confidence.
And that’s because our sessions are more than just fun trips out. They give mentors the space and time to talk to the child about their feelings, their responses, their strengths and how they can build on those. Emily, for example, drew on Robert’s love of super heroes to create a scaled reward chart, and so was able to monitor the progress in his emotions and behaviours over time. By the end of mentoring, not only had Robert established a strong, trusting relationship with Emily, but his behaviour, attitude and creativity had all improved.
Robert is more settled and alert in class. More assertive, participating with activities and less inclined to become angry and argumentative. He’s a happier, calmer child.Teacher
If you want to know a bit more first, we’ve compiled some of the questions we get asked most often when volunteers first talk to us.
A. Our mentors commit to the programme for 6-12 months. They meet with their matched child every week (weekends or after school) for 2-4 hours.
As a mentor, you will plan activities each week and write a session report after each one to send to your Head of Services. You will be asked to meet your Head of Services once a month for a supervision meeting.
A. We currently match mentors with children in the following boroughs:
A. Our training is designed to put applicants in the best position for success as a Chance UK mentor. It is essential for mentors to complete 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
- Safeguarding children and yourself.
A. We want to get to know you and your skills to ensure the best match possible.
Your interview will be with two Chance UK staff members who will ask how you might apply what you’ve learned in mentor training.
You’ll also be asked about your life, childhood, significant moments in your life and more. Once you’ve completed your interview our staff team will decide together whether to accept you as a mentor.
A. You’ll need to be available to do weekly mentoring sessions either after school or at the weekends. Mentoring sessions don’t need to take place on the same day every week.
You’ll schedule mentoring sessions each week with the child’s parent/carer, lasting 2-4 hours.
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 meet with your Head of Services once a month for a supervision meeting.
A. 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.
A. What you do in your sessions depends largely on the child’s interests and the skills you decide to develop together. Although designed to be fun, it’s important that your sessions are working towards the child’s goals, which you’ll decide on together. You might visit museums, or take part in art workshops. Your Head of Services will also support you in finding the best activities London has to offer!
A. 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.
A. Mentors have to be over 18 years old. There is no upper age limit, although mentors need to be able to keep up with a child!
A. 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 Head of Services as soon as possible for a private and confidential discussion. Your DBS certificate will only be seen and verified by select senior staff.
A. Having completed your training and attended an interview with two members of staff you will be carefully matched with a child. We work hard to match children and mentors who we feel will be a good fit for each other, focusing on those who have similar interests.
A. 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!
A. No. The child you mentor can only ever have contact with you.
A. 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.
A. At the end of the mentoring we have a strict no contact policy. This allows 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. You will be invited to a graduation ceremony to celebrate your mentoring journey, this is a very special occasion and your family and friends are invited to come along too. The graduation ceremony is usually held at the Town Hall with the Mayor in attendance, after this, the mentoring ends. If you would like to continue mentoring after your Chance UK graduation, Chance UK would be happy to discuss matching you with another child.
A. 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 Head of Services 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready to get involved?
Join hundreds of people who’ve had first hand involvement in transformational change.