Community Hub Volunteer – Role Description
Mentors engage with people who are soon to be released from prison. Mentoring begins pre-release with weekly meetings, for about two months. The mentor and mentee develop a resettlement plan for the mentee. At the moment Mentors work in HMP Lewes, but this may later be expanded to other prisons.
The mentor meets the mentee on release, at the prison gate. Mentoring continues for a further six months in the community. At first meetings are weekly, reducing in frequency after the first three months. Towards the end of six months, the mentor and mentee will decide when the working relationship will end.
A new community hub called SPIN has been set up in Brighton for service users leaving HMP Lewes and returning to the area. “SPIN offers a safe and nurturing environment upon release to help support service users in their transition from custody and back into the community”. Spin will be offering Yoga and relaxation sessions, a free healthy Lunch, Drop in services, volunteering opportunities for initial service users and mentoring support. SPIN is held on the Wednesday of every week and begins at 1100 and finishes at 1600 (Including clear up time).
Volunteers are needed to help run these sessions, getting involved in the set-up and assisting in the running of the day as well as offering mentoring support. This can include signing service users in and registration, sign posting, assisting with the Healthy Lunches and other general tasks needed on the day.
Mentors attend a bespoke three day core training programme drawing upon the Clinks course “Volunteering with Offenders in the Community” including interviewing skills, boundaries and knowledge around the benefits and housing systems. This is enhanced by a further one and a half day induction provided by HMP Lewes.
Mentors are required to attend monthly Volunteer Support networks (VSN’s), where mentors work together to review and learn from their experience. We also provide two training days per year where all mentors liaise and attend workshops on related topics.
Mentoring takes on average about half a day or four hours a week. To begin with it can require more time, and reduces later. The minimum commitment to Sussex Pathways is for nine months. Mentors are required to send a short report on their progress with a mentee after every meeting and feedback and support will be provided by the mentor’s volunteer coordinator.
The mentor role includes guiding the offenders to the relevant specialist services that they require to assist them in rebuilding their lives, acting as advocate when necessary, establishing clear lines of communication and referral to agencies working in the following areas: housing, employment, education, debt, benefits, substance abuse and dependency, health and family. Mentors aim towards agreed targets with the offender, assessing progress along the way. All meetings are recorded and evaluated. Mentors assist in creating safer communities by reducing the high reoffending rates of our offenders when released into the community.
Sussex Pathways is committed to evaluating both the continual progress of its mentees and also the longer term results of the project with the support of Sussex Police.
Sussex Pathways believes in the importance of continuing to develop its training, and to this end is a member of the Social Mentoring Research Group at Brighton University.
Every mentor is given a Sussex Pathways mobile telephone, used for contact with the mentee and other agencies. The mentor uses his or her first name, and no other personal information. All meetings are in a public place and full training in personal safety and boundaries is included in the initial three day training.
Mentoring can be demanding and very rewarding too. Whilst engaging with a mentee in the community, one of the staff team will carry out a direct observation of practice and mentors are given feedback. Mentors also receive one to one support from a coordinator quarterly.
If you would like to be considered for this position, please download the application form and equal opportunities and send it back to us.