What is Meet and Mentor?

Meet and Mentor is part of the ESS plus project and provides help to people immediately on their release from prison, supporting them back into the community.

Where is Meet and Mentor delivered?

Meet and Mentor is delivered in Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin. 

How does Meet and Mentor help?

Meet and Mentor is part of our regional Community Rehabilitation Company’s (formerly the Probation Service) Through the Gate strategy, which aims to prepare and help people to find their feet when they are released from custody.  Short-term prisoners have the highest reoffending rate – over 73%. The Meet and Mentor service at YSS aims to help change the circumstances that lead them back to crime and help them get their lives back on track, from the very first day of their release.

YSS has been commissioned to work with men who have served sentences of 12 months or less; who are returning to live in Worcestershire, Shropshire, or Telford & Wrekin, and who have served their sentence in either HMP Featherstone in Wolverhampton or HMP Hewell in Redditch – our two local resettlement prisons.

Individuals referred will have been identified by prison and CRC (West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company) staff as being particularly vulnerable, complex and chaotic, and as those most in need of complete ‘wrap-around’ support, which is what we offer.  Engagement with this element of the project is on a voluntary basis.

An ES plus staff member will go to the relevant prison to meet the person pre-release and make an initial assessment of what is required. On the day of release, a volunteer mentor will meet the individual at the prison gate, transport them back to their local community, help them settle into whatever accommodation has been arranged and agree when to meet again.

The volunteer will then support, encourage and often accompany the individual as they follow through on the focused support plan that has been agreed.

What difference does Meet and Mentor make?

ST has done very well since his release from HMP Hewell prison. He knows he has made a few mistakes but has still managed to find a job and a suitable place to live. He needs to remain focused and patient regarding the situation with his daughter, as making poor choices regarding this matter has the potential to return him to prison. The volunteer is now working with ST to help him develop coping skills.

The volunteer has really helped me and calmed me down. I feel that I am getting somewhere now that I have some support behind me.

Without your help and support I would have been sleeping on the streets tonight and it is freezing cold, I would not have been able to cope.

GS has said that he is grateful for the mentor having sorted out the contact with his daughters through Social Services as it has been a long and frustrating process.

To read a case study please click here

Want to get involved?

Become a volunteer

If you think you have what it takes to be a Meet and Mentor volunteer, please click here for the role description and here for the volunteer application form.