The Mentoring Project
The mentoring project was set up to support homeless and vulnerably-housed adults with multiple and complex needs who live in Leicester. It aimed to increase peoples’ confidence, reduce social isolation, improve mental and physical health and access practical help for instance to increase income, reduce debt and improve accommodation.
Volunteer mentors meet with someone about once a week for a couple of hours for up to 6 months to listen, talk to, assist and accompany them to achieve personal goals. The Project Coordinator recruits, trains and supervises mentors and recruits and matches mentees with a mentor. Mentees meet with the coordinator to look at any changes or progress made.
Amongst outcomes reported were increased motivation, increased income, improved mental and physical health, reduced debt and improved accommodation and living conditions.
One woman said “ It felt like there was a mountain and I couldn’t get over it ……… that’s all changed”.
Mentoring a homeless or vulnerably-housed person can make a real difference to their quality of life and can be a rewarding experience.
If you are a good listener, patient and caring and would like to make a difference please apply to become a volunteer mentor by contacting: Jacqui Dean, Mentor Coordinator on 07818 276272 or send an e-mail to Jacqui
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring services, when carefully designed and well run, provide positive influences for people who don’t have a good support system available to them.
Volunteers (the mentors), are matched with people who need support (the mentees), in one-on-one relationships to provide guidance, advice and friendship. A mentor can also simply be someone for a vulnerable person to hang out with. Through this special relationship, mentors serve as role models.
Mentoring is a non-judgemental ‘person centred’ approach- focussing on the person not the problem.
The Bridge Mentoring Project
Our mentoring project was started in 2013. An initial cohort of 10 volunteer mentors was recruited and trained to support homeless or vulnerably housed people.
We supported ten marginalised people in the first year but our project did not initially accept people with alcohol or drug problems or those with offending backgrounds.
Over time though, our mentors grew in confidence and, closely supported by our mentor co-ordinator, began to accept these, very, marginalised people onto our programme.
We now work successfully with some of the most marginalised people in Leicester. Many of our service users would probably end up in prison were it not for the Bridge. We are uniquely placed to work directly with the multi-disadvantaged people we see every day in the city and we reach the “hard to reach”.
Our volunteer mentors come from all walks of life and some have previously been service users.
They receive training in the following areas: motivational Interviewing, suicide awareness, housing law, safeguarding, advocacy, mental health and domestic violence awareness and welfare benefits.
The mentors grow in confidence and improve their self-esteem as they learn new skills they can share with others and one has already gained employment.
“Mentoring through The Bridge has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my own life; it is such a rewarding scheme to be involved with. It gives me an immense feeling of achievement to see my mentee achieve a personal goal, knowing my input has assisted her in getting there.
Apart from being homeless, ‘sofa surfing’ or living in sub-standard accommodation, our mentees face loneliness and social isolation; many have offending backgrounds, often due to drug and alcohol dependency, and physical or mental health problems are very common. All are currently economically inactive.
“It [the project] has helped me tremendously…I’m out of my inappropriate accommodation…and I can be debt free now – that makes me feel great… it felt like there was a mountain and I couldn’t get over it, now that’s all changed……It’s wonderful, I’ve had my eye operation and… it’s so lovely to see peoples’ faces and faces on my family photos”.
Become a Mentor!
If you are aged 18 or over and have a few hours to spare each week you can apply to become a volunteer mentor and help someone to take control of their life and achieve their goals.
In return you will:
- Receive training and support from our co-ordinator
- Gain personal satisfaction from being able to help others
- Gain valuable experience that can help you to gain employment – this has already happened for one mentor
If you are interested in becoming a mentor contact Jacqui Dean (Mentor Co-ordinator) using the form below or phone: 07818 276272