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The Mentoring Project

“Mentoring through The Bridge Homelessness to Hope has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my own life; it is such a rewarding scheme to be involved with. It gives me an immense feeling of achievement to see my mentee achieve a personal goal, knowing my input has assisted her in getting there”

Our mentors and mentees are recruited by the Mentor Coordinator who is the main point of contact for all mentors and mentees. The Coordinator will recruit volunteers and train them to support and help the mentee. Our mentees are recruited via other services at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope or from our partners in the city.
After applications have been made, references and DBS checks received and completed, the Coordinator will match one mentor to one mentee based on their preferences, interests and needs. When a match is made, the Coordinator will help them set their goals and expectations for the following 6 months of the project.
The mentor and mentee will then meet in a public place on a weekly basis to work towards achieving the goals set. Often mentee's will just want to talk and be listened to. In time this relationship can help increase the mentee's confidence, reduce their social isolation and improve mental and physical health.


The mentoring project was established to support homeless and vulnerably-housed adults with multiple and complex needs who live in Leicester. It aims to increase mentees’ confidence, reduce social isolation, improve mental and physical health and access practical help.

Volunteer mentors meet with someone once a week for a couple of hours for up to 6 months to listen, talk to, assist and accompany them to achieve personal goals. The Mentor Coordinator recruits, trains and supervises mentors. They will also recruit and match mentees with a mentor.


Amongst outcomes reported were increased motivation, increased income, improved mental and physical health, reduced debt and improved accommodation and living conditions. One woman said “It felt like there was a mountain and I couldn’t get over it … that’s all changed”. Mentoring a homeless or vulnerably-housed person can make a real difference to their quality of life and can be a rewarding experience.


What is Mentoring?

Mentoring services provide positive influences for people who may not have a good support system available to them.

Volunteers (mentors) are matched with people who need support. The project created a one-to-one relationship to provide guidance, advice and support. A mentor can also simply be someone for a vulnerable person to hang out with. Through this special relationship, mentors serve as role models.

Mentoring is a non-judgemental ‘person centred’ approach- focussing on the person not the problem.

Programme Background

Our mentoring project started in 2013. An initial cohort of ten volunteer mentors were recruited and trained to support homeless or vulnerably housed people. We supported ten marginalised people in the first year but our project did not initially accept people with alcohol or drug problems or those with offending backgrounds. Over time our mentors grew in confidence and, closely supported by the mentor Co-ordinator, began to accept these very marginalised people onto our programme.

The Mentors and Mentees

The Mentors : Our volunteer mentors come from all walks of life and some have previously been service users. They receive training in the following areas: homelessness issues, mental health and domestic violence awareness and welfare benefits. The mentors grow in confidence and improve their self-esteem as they learn new skills they can share with others.

“Mentoring through The Bridge Homelessness to Hope has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my own life; it is such a rewarding scheme to be involved with. It gives me an immense feeling of achievement to see my mentee achieve a personal goal, knowing my input has assisted her in getting there”

The Mentees : Apart from being homeless, ‘sofa surfing’ or living in sub-standard accommodation, they can also face loneliness and social isolation, many have offending backgrounds, often due to drug and alcohol dependence leading to physical or mental health problems. Most are economically inactive when they join the project.

“It [the project] has helped me tremendously…I’m out of my inappropriate accommodation…and I can be debt free now – that makes me feel great… it felt like there was a mountain and I couldn’t get over it, now that’s all changed……It’s wonderful, I’ve had my eye operation and… it’s so lovely to see peoples’ faces and faces on my family photos”.



Food Provision

Our welcoming environment helps marginalised people to build up trust in us and provides the ‘starting point’ for them to access other services. We aim to offer offer non- judgemental companionship to all who walk through our doors.

We offer at least one meal per day for people who would otherwise go hungry.
We have a friendly and motivated team of volunteers in the kitchen.
We provide 350+ meals per week to anyone who comes through our doors, no questions asked.


The Hope Centre, 43 Melton Road, Leicester LE1 3NB

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Monday to Saturday mornings (0600 – 0800): We provide a light breakfast service of tea, coffee, cereal and toast for rough sleepers who would otherwise miss out on food and a hot drink first thing in the morning.

Tuesdays (11.30 – 13.30 ): We provide lunch during this time, and guests usually have the chance to learn to play the guitar & have a sing-a-long.

Thursday Evenings (1830 – 2000): We serve hot and cold drinks and a hot cooked meal to over 60 guests every week.

Sunday Afternoons (1500 – 1700): We provide a service in conjunction with members of the Sai Centre Leicester (www.leicestersaicentre.org ) who cook and prepare the food. We are currently welcoming over 70 guests each week to this service.


Warm Clothes Provision

The Bridge Homelessness to Hope maintains a small store of warm clothes – hats, gloves, scarves, coats, socks and underwear – and sleeping bags which it gives to those in demonstrable need.


Advice Centre

We provide a weekly ‘drop in’ advice service every Monday from 10am to 1pm, to assist with issues such as access to food and fuel vouchers. Advice and support is provided by the Department of Works & Pension in areas such as support with job search, benefit advice, help with making new Universal Credit claims, referrals to CV making and courses in a less formal environment than a Job Centre.


Moneywise Plus offers one to one support with using a computer and the internet and financial support including budgeting, saving and managing Universal Credit online. They also provide employment support such as preparing a CV, cover letter, help with online job applications, support with volunteering, training and education opportunities.