An Open Evening (either live or on Zoom) is held from time to time. Leave your details on the ‘Express Interest’ email form and we will be in contact with you regarding details of the Open Evening.
Review all the FAQ and the other website pages for a good overview. Also, please request the NFCC Volunteer Information Pack which provides more extensive information.
As a volunteer you will be expected to complete a 10-hour training course that equips you for this role. After the course you will meet with the project leadership to discuss whether you should proceed with mentor induction. A careful handover process is followed as well as close supervision when you start engaging with a client.
A line manager will guide and supervise you throughout your mentoring relationships and be available to answer questions and explore resolutions to any issues. There is a simple app-based digital system for requesting help or flagging concerns. Supporting you in this mentoring role is the charity’s highest priority.
For the first six months, a review is undertaken every six weeks to discuss the positive and challenging aspects of your client work. Periodic CPD (Continuing Professional Development) sessions will be held to build skills and understanding. An online Knowledge Base is kept up to date with many resources and guidance documents for specific tasks (e.g. opening a bank account, managing Universal Credit, budgeting and goal-setting).
Most of our clients are men aged 20–40 years old. Infrequently, we have clients in their late teens or over 40. We do not work with prison leavers who have a severe mental health condition. Occasionally, sex offenders are accepted but are only paired with experienced mentors after discussion.
The majority of our clients will have served sentences for assault, offences related to drug possession/supply, or theft/fraud. Regardless of the offence, all clients have been risk-assessed, and any assigned to a new mentor will have been deemed to pose very low/low risk to themselves or others.
Females represent less than 4% of the UK prison population. So, only rarely does NFCC have a female prison leaver referred to us. Therefore, as a woman, you may get the opportunity to mentor a female ex-offender but it will happen very rarely. Most charities like ours have more women volunteers than men. This is also generally reflected in the make-up of Probation Service professionals.
Here is a statement from one of our female advisors with years of experience:Over the years I have supported many individuals in a context very similar to that of New Foundations volunteers, the majority being male. There are actually many positive relational dynamics that women bring. As mentors we are there in a supporting capacity to help someone. Therefore, the rapport we have with them is very different compared to a service that may be enforcing restrictions or removing liberties.Part of our charity’s training involves picking up on the cues where someone is becoming more agitated and pre-emptively de-escalating the situation. NFCC uses a system to check in and out with a ‘buddy’ when the appointment starts and ends, along with an escalation protocol. I have never heard of any female colleagues who have been in physical danger in any charity or service work like ours.
E.R. (NFCC advisor)
To create the best opportunity for impact in a mentoring relationship you would need to be available for at least two hours each week. Most one-to-one sessions last about an hour. In addition, there might be a short commuting time. Completing meeting reports and undertaking research on behalf of your client are also time factors.
NFCC accepts applications from those in full-time employment. Your time with a client would probably be limited to weekends. All appointments are during the day. Our clients occasionally need to be accompanied to some critical meetings during the week but we will work with you to find a colleague who could take your place for such midweek situations.
We are currently taking referrals for prisoners returning to Southampton, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth. It is helpful when a volunteer mentor can be flexible and work with a client in a neighbouring area (i.e. Southampton – Eastleigh / Portsmouth – Havant / Fareham – Gosport).
Your expenses will primarily consist of mileage and refreshments or light meals with clients. Some of our mentors are supported by their church, some cover their own expenses, all others can reimburse them from NFCC.
NFCC runs on a paperless basis. So volunteers need a smartphone, easy access to a laptop/desktop computer and printer, as well as a willingness to learn and use a few Microsoft apps (e.g. Word, Teams).
Regardless of the offence, all of our clients have been risk-assessed in order to ascertain their suitability for mentoring and the service we provide. We will have done our very best with the information made available to us to ensure our clients pose a very low risk to their mentors, although we cannot be held accountable in the rare instance that something unforeseen may occur. All new mentors will only be assigned lower risk individuals.