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PROBATION BOARD LAUNCH VOLUNTEER MENTORING SCHEME

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland is launching a volunteer mentoring scheme and in 2013 is looking for volunteers mentors to support its work making local communities safer.

Lucia Kearney is the Volunteer Mentor Co-Ordinator and is keen to recruit volunteer mentors in Belfast, Newtownards, Downpatrick and the surrounding areas.  “PBNI recognises the value that volunteer mentors can provide to support our work in making local communities safer by challenging and changing offenders’ behaviour. We are now looking for individuals who can commit 2-3 hours each week to take up these posts.”
PBNI intends to roll the mentoring scheme out to communities across Northern Ireland in the future.

Volunteer Mentors can assist offenders by supporting and encouraging them to comply with and complete their Probation Order by:
• Offering a positive and reliable befriending relationship
• Providing practical support, for example, helping offenders to register with a GP or   register for benefits
• Helping to complete application forms
• Reducing social isolation
• Providing support to offenders with addictions or mental health problems
• Providing assistance to offenders transferring from prison/hostel accommodation to independent living

PBNI wants to recruit everyday people from local communities.  To be a mentor, you are not required to have any formal qualifications or experience – we are looking for enthusiastic and caring members of the general public.  PBNI provide full training so mentors can fulfil the requirements of their role.  Mentors will be supported and supervised throughout their mentoring experience and will be offered various opportunities to further develop their knowledge and skills. 

Lucia’s role is to recruit, select, train and match volunteer mentors to offenders (mentees).  Mentors will be complementing the role of operational staff, undertaking various tasks that will have a positive impact for the mentee. 

Lucia is responsible for inducting each mentor into their local PBNI office.  She will support the mentors in their role through individual contact and group supervision and continually improve their skills and knowledge through relevant training.  The Probation Officer will be involved in individual mentoring relationships by setting goals that will positively impact on offending behaviour with the mentee, which the mentor will then work through with the mentee.  Mentors will keep Probation Officers updated with regards mentee progress.  Lucia will also advise and support operational staff in respect of volunteer mentoring procedures.

If you are interested in this volunteering opportunity with PBNI please email volunteers@pbni.gsi.gov.uk or visit the recruitment and volunteering section of the PBNI website www.pbni.org.uk for more information.