Have an impact on reducing reoffending and preventing homelessness by becoming a Volunteer Mentor
We are delighted to have been funded again by Vestey Holdings to run our mentoring project for residents of HMP Warren Hill, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, for a third year running.
If you want to find out more about becoming a volunteer mentor for a resident read on. If you already have your heart set on it the application form can be found here.
The aim of the project is a reduction of reoffending rates for former residents of HMP Warren Hill. As our key aim is to prevent homelessness we want to make sure that our mentees not only stay out of prison but are able to sustain a tenancy. Statistics prove that people are less likely to reoffend if they have a safe and secure home.
Data from the Ministry of Justice under a freedom of information request showed that out of all adult prisoners released in 2016
67% of those who slept rough or were otherwise homeless went on to commit another crime within a year.
Mentoring enables people leaving custody to thrive, to avoid reoffending and to live independent lives contributing to:
- a reduction in crime
- a reduction in support needed in supported accommodation and other settings
- a reduction in the number of future evictions
- a reduction in unemployment and benefit claims.
George Vestey, the driving force and funder behind the project (as well as volunteer mentor) said
‘I recognise the immense difficulties faced by prisoners returning to their communities, particularly in terms of the support (or lack of) available to them. This mentoring approach with its non-judgemental asset-based approach is so positive for mentees that I enjoy having the chance to make a difference in a very small way.’
The difference you will make
The positives of having a Your Own Place mentor are best described by our mentees themselves.
‘Twice I was in a very bad place and thought what is the point – might as well get banged up again, I have had enough but by the end of the conversation I am either having a laugh or doing something about the problem – try a few options. Bounce a few ideas around.‘
‘I’ve been away a long time and so my support network is very limited. I feel good to know that in the first difficult months there’s someone there on the end of a phone. I feel very lucky to have been put forward. I consider it an honour almost as the person mentoring me is doing it out of their own time.’
- You will be an impartial and non judgemental listening ear ( something which is powerful for everyone but particularly those marginalised by society).
- You will help your mentee to identify and reveal their skills by asking open questions which allow them to reflect on their successes.
- You will empower your mentee to give voice to their hopes for the future.
- You will help them develop their own plan to reach their goals.
- You will provide a positive experience of gaining help.
- You will act as a professional friend for a person who may well not have many connections once released.
The end of year impact report from year 1 of the project can be read here.
What will you gain
The positives of being a Your Own Place mentor are best described by a mentor themselves.
‘I have found this whole experience so thought provoking and it is really having a profound effect on me – in an extremely positive way I hasten to add!‘
- You will undertake two days of high quality, engaging training which will improve your mentoring confidence, knowledge and skill.*
- We will complete an enhanced DBS check that is transferable to other volunteering opportunities.
- By utilising your new mentoring skills regularly you will continue your personal growth. Many of the skills we utilise in mentoring are valued in the workplace eg positive leadership and management techniques.
- Volunteering for an organisation with a track record of running successful and impactful mentoring projects will help your CV stand out, particularly if you would like to work in a criminal justice setting.
- You will be fully supported throughout so that you can achieve the best outcomes with your mentee and for you.
- The satisfaction of using your life experience and skills to help someone reintegrate into society and have a successful life.
- The enjoyment of connecting with someone with different life experiences than you but perhaps similar hobbies and interests.
- The satisfaction of playing a part in preventing reoffending and homelessness.
*The training can be completed online, as a mixture of self-directed learning and trainer-led interactive Zoom sessions or face to face (as Covid rules allow) The online course normally runs from 9.30am – 4.30pm on two consecutive days and 10.00am – 4.00pm when face to face.
Quotes from trainees after the course include
‘Thanks so much for the training course, I found it very interesting and useful! And inspiring, I can’t stop thinking about it. Everyone I talk to about it seems to be equally interested, there’s a lot that isn’t known about prisons and the prison system.‘
‘I learnt so much in the two days; not least on the complex issues of not advising but encouraging the mentee to find their own solution; and also on the confidentiality aspect. You were clever to make it so interactive and even fun.’
What is involved
- You are considered ‘ready to match’ once the training and interview are completed and your DBS* and references are through.
- You are matched to a HMP Warren Hill resident who is up for parole with in a few months.
- We aim to match people whose personality types will get along and hopefully have some hobbies in common.
- The first introduction is carried out by a Your Own Place worker.
- You will then chat to your mentee whilst they are in prison, currently by phone rather than visiting, for about an hour a week.
- Hopefully after a few months of building a rapport whilst they are inside you will then continue to support them by phone for a further approx. 9 months whilst they acclimatise to life outside.
- You are provided with support from Your Own Place for the whole relationship.
*Having issues on your DBS does not automatically exclude you just please be honest about it from the start.
We hope you feel inspired to be a part of this amazing opportunity.
You can find out FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) here to understand more about how the projects works and then apply for one of the dates below using the application form underneath.
Online courses run from 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Face to face courses from 10 am – 4 pm at HMP Warren Hill
- 9th and 10th of March 2021– Online course
- 16th and 17th of June 2021 – TBC
- 8th and 9th of September 2021 – TBC
Contact Simone if you have any further questions.
mob: 07522 410385
The last words go to another of our amazing mentors …
‘The mentoring training by Your Own Place was revolutionary in that it required me to reflect carefully on my own strengths, weaknesses and durability.
I have found it absolutely humbling to meet my mentee, to learn about his attributes, of which there are many, and then to join him on his journey back into the community. It is sometimes difficult to defy the instinct to intervene with direct help but what I have learned is that it is so important for him to know that he has someone there who will listen, celebrate achievements no matter how large or small and encourage focus and resilience when frustrations occur. After many years of being told what to do it is a huge but rewarding change for him to have someone asking him what he thinks he should do and in the process enabling him to take ownership of his actions.
Having a person to listen, encourage and support is a vital part of their successful rehabilitation. I really commend this mentoring project as a means of discovering something about yourself but more importantly learning about the skills, attributes and capabilities of someone who has had to overcome difficulties to get to where they are today and helping to harness them for the new set of challenges they will be imminently undertaking.‘