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“They treated me like a person, not a problem. It was nice to feel I had someone on my side.” – A service user
A little of your time can have a big impact, as you help prison leavers figure out how to make a new and better start.

The mentor’s role

A mentor helps their client imagine a different outcome, walking alongside them and encouraging them to change. Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds and ages. What they have in common is being mature, resourceful and patient – with a wealth of common sense and life experience.

The relationship usually starts with practical help – help with setting up their benefits, getting an ID, etc. Then we support them to set and achieve meaningful goals. Some NFCC volunteers have served time in prison themselves, bringing greater credibility and expertise to the whole team.

Why we do this

As a faith-based charity, it’s often our personal faith that compels us to love and serve those society has forgotten. However there are a variety of other reasons people volunteer:

  • To give back by supporting those less fortunate
  • To be an advocate for the vulnerable and marginalised
  • To expand one’s own horizons
  • This work is not easy. Helping people face the challenges of change can be both frustrating and rewarding. Be prepared to give a minimum of two hours a week; some of that spent meeting face-to-face during the day on weekdays or weekends.

    Your questions answered

    Check out our FAQs for answers to these and other questions about becoming an NFCC volunteer:

  • How can I further explore this opportunity?
  • What are you looking for in a prospective mentor?
  • What sort of training and support is provided?

  • Read our FAQs

    Other ways to help

    If you don’t see yourself being a mentor, there are several other ways you can support New Foundations. Consider how else you might play a part.

    Find out more

    A mentor’s story

    Some years ago I got involved in working with prison leavers and found this to be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It would be wrong to paint a picture of achieving ‘success’ – all clients are different, as is their motivation to change. So there have been many disappointments along the way.

    I have always kept in mind that my part in somebody’s journey may be a link in the chain to a better outcome for them that I may never see. However, when a person who has faced enormous challenges in their life overcomes them, it makes me feel my time and effort was worth it.

    From time to time I have heard from previous clients, and the majority have been most grateful simply for the fact that somebody walked with them at a time when they needed it most. The work of community chaplaincies like NFCC is very much needed, and as a Christian I am very grateful that I can be involved.


    Volunteer Mentor

    ✨ Comments of Volunteer Mentors


    “Prison leavers often find it extremely difficult to adjust upon being released. So it’s amazing to be able to encourage someone who simply feels hopeless and overwhelmed. Chatting over a cuppa in a neutral safe environment is such a simple thing to do and yet often the outcomes can be life changing."Bev.


    “I see my role as befriending with a purpose: helping someone overcome chaos and find order. Often it’s just listening about my client’s situation, other times helping more practically. It is a privilege to try and bring light and hope, however imperfectly, into some of the darkest places in human experience.”Greg


    “I am a volunteer mentor with ‘lived experience’, meaning I have served time as a prisoner. But I have also benefited from the support of a mentor upon my release. I am passionate about supporting prison leavers and want to make a difference in the life of somebody who has been forgotten by most of society.”Vince


    “My practical help was both needed and appreciated – things like filling out an online form, advocacy with the Council regarding historic debt, liaising with his mental health worker, helping him put a CV together. I discovered that just doing basic stuff with him and on his behalf meant a lot to both of us.”Dave

    Register your possible interest

    Please consider volunteering with us. After one year as a mentor, here is how a Southampton school teacher puts it: Could you offer caring support for those who have lost hope? Can you deal with disappointment, but not give up on the person who feels he disappoints everyone? Can you be reliable and resourceful, non-judgmental, able to manage the learning curve? If your heart says ‘Yes’, seriously consider joining us.
    Express Interest

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