Why did you decide to become a mentor?

I went to an event called ‘Leap into Volunteering’ and heard all about mentoring from the Volunteer Coordinator, Joanne. I had recently moved to Bolton and have volunteered before and decided it made sense to volunteer in the area that I now lived and worked in.

How did you find the induction training for the role?

It was full of lots of useful information and practical tips and advice about some of the challenges you may face. It was also nice to meet other volunteers and there was a real mix of people on the training which was interesting.

Do you get to meet with other mentors?

Yes, there are lots of opportunities for you and your mentee to meet other mentors and mentees on activity sessions, if you both want to. They are good as you get to talk to other mentors and share your experiences and also get to see how your mentee interacts with others. It’s a nice change in dynamic of the relationship.

What support do you get from us?

I have weekly contact from the club from my Mentor Coordinator who is great. We also get a monthly newsletter which tells us what is going on across the club, which I find useful. There are also the organised activities I mentioned before. The best thing is that someone is always available to talk if you phone up and need some advice, and that is really important.

What do you think your young person gets out of having a mentor?

They get a chance to talk to somebody who is not there all the time so they get things off their chest and sound things out. I’m not there to judge, I’m there to listen. I can try and help out if needs be but if it something I can’t help with I can ring my Mentor Coordinator and ask them for advice. We also get out and about, we go to football matches and visit local places in Bolton and have fun.

What do you think your young person gets out of having a mentor?

A lot. It’s having someone else they can talk to. It gives them an outlet that they’ve never had before and that can only be a good thing. It gives them someone to talk to if they need it and when they need it. It also gives them regular visits.

How have you gone about building a relationship with your young person?

I thought this was going to be difficult but on our first meeting we ended up going on a walk and the conversation was very natural. I was unsure about what things he would like to do but realised early on the best thing to do was ask him what he likes to do. Football comes pretty high up on his agenda.

What do you get out of being a mentor?

I love it! I didn’t think I’d enjoy it so much. I’m learning constantly. We have a laugh, sometimes we have tricky conversations and sometimes I’m asked for support and help and share what I know. I think everybody should do it! It’s fun, its sometimes a little bit challenging but it is very rewarding.

If someone is thinking about mentoring what advice would you give them?

Be ready to commit. Don’t let the young person down, they are relying on you.