Project information

Mental Health Mentor

Helping people in North Somerset with Mental Health problems to engage in community and volunteering activities as part of recovery. Volunteers will give 1:1 support as people seek to improve quality of life and overcome fears and stigmas attached to their problems. Locally based support.

July 2012 - March 2015

Charity information

FRIEND (North Somerset) Limited

FRIEND (North Somerset) Limited logo
  • Need


    Lack of support for people with mental health problems, who are trying to move their lives forward and re-engage with social activities and work.


    Friend will provide supervised volunteer "Mentors" who will work on a close 1:1 basis with people. Listening to their fears, their aspirations and interests. Helping to source activities, attend with people initially - if necessary - and review their progress with them in a non-critical way.
    Counselling support will also be available to individuals engaged on this programme.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To empower people in North Somerset with mental health problems to experience greater fulfilment.


    » 1:1 support with a Volunteer Mentor to prepare a "Plan" for chosen community activities and volunteering. Sourcing these activities with the person.
    » Attending chosen activities if necessary on an initial basis then encouraging independent attendance and following up to check progress/ develop plans
    » Provide the "safety net" of long term support as people take recovery at a pace that is healthy for them - returning to a happier more fulfilled life

    Success will be...measurable increase in engagement in activities; enriched quality of life; fewer incidences of statutory referral; improved self-esteem; active integration.

    Aim 2

    To improve understanding of mental health problems and greater integration in the local community.


    » Resourcing activities for clients to attend will be carried out by Volunteers and such contacts will provide opportunities to break down the barriers.
    » Contacts between our clients and the places they access will help to build understanding and break down fear and ignorance of mental health problems.

    Success will be...increase in number of visits to potential groups/employers etc. and increase in individuals/groups and companies who support the project.

    Aim 3

    To provide clients returning to work with a "peer" support group - facilitated by a worker.


    » Ongoing group meeting on a regular, monthly, basis for those planning a return to work. Discussion, mutual support and sharing of information

    Success will be...establishment of a regular group for clients at one or both of Weston and Clevedon sites of Friend.

  • Impact


    Individuals will feel supported to move on at their own rate into a happier, more fulfilled future. Improved self-esteem and confidence will aid people to go forward and be less reliant on statutory services. Start point assessment and regular recorded monitoring of progress will demonstrate people's recognition of improvement. Other support can be offered or signposted to as necessary.


    Withdrawal of other commissioned service income to Friend. This project has been carefully planned with emphasis on Volunteer mentors (who will receive training on Mental Health by in-house mhfa trainers). Our paid Development Worker will supervise the volunteers.
    Volunteers, by nature, could leave potentially affecting relationships with clients. Every client will meet the Development Worker to allow for continuity and change of mentor if necessary for any reason.


    Half-yearly reports will be provided - giving uptake of clients, including all equal opportunities data, example case studies, details of developments with other agencies/employers etc. Volunteers will be asked to provide information on their personal enrichment from the work.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £9,000 Volunteers 150 weeks, 6 volunteers at £10 approx mileage etc
      £3,600 Peer Group 3 years of Facilitated monthly return to work support
      £3,000 Activities 3 years of client support to attend activities
      £3,000 Supervision/Monitoring Paid worker to support/supervise Volunteers
      £1,900 Admin support (Full Cost Recovery) admin/overheads etc.
  • Background


    North Somerset. This area encompasses a large number of centres for recovery from addictions of all types and has a large rural population for whom geographical isolation can be a significant additional problem. Seeking out suitable organisations for clients to volunteer with is challenging - but our local College, based in Weston, offers many courses which enable clients to obtain qualifications for return to work.


    Those with mental health problems in North Somerst who need a supporting hand to recognise their aspirations, encourage them into activities to raise their confidence and self-esteem. Knowledge that they have a support "net" if they encounter set-backs and difficulties. We particularly wish to reach out to young people to help avoid "lifelong" acceptance of an existing "quality of life" without hope for improvement and change.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Friend has over 25 years experience in developing and offering strong support in mental health. From an original resources base, Friend has developed into two active sites in Weston and Clevedon; with Advocacy services and other specialist group support availabilities. This project will have the expertise of a strong, committed, staff force to back it up.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Nikki Perry

    Nikki is our experienced Development Worker - her role to supervise and support the volunteer mentors. She has successfully recruited the volunteers.

    Becci McCready

    Becci is our lead Centre worker in Clevedon - she has also worked with individual clients and has a wealth of experience supporting/moving clients on.

    Kerstin Muller-Pullin

    Kerstin will work at Clevedon as a Volunteer "Mentor". She has recently been recruited.

    Toni Siani

    Toni will be our Volunteer "Mentor" at Weston - also recently recruited.