If you are thinking of volunteering you may have some questions that need answering first! Here are a few that we have answers for...

If your question is not answered here or even if it is and you'd like to discuss it in more detail please do get in touch.

I'm interested, but are there any paid roles?

At this stage of our development no. We are very small, and it is a struggle financially just to meet our basic costs. Long term we would like to develop some full-time mentors that we could pay; but in the meantime there are unpaid voluntary positions only. 

How long is each session?

Depending on the creative process, sessions are between 1-3 hours long.

How many sessions would you need me for each day/week?

It's entirely up to you as to what time you are able to give; what ever time you can give we are grateful for! The maximum number of sessions in a week is 6-8 but equally you could just do 1 or 2. It's Totally flexible to suit you.

How any people would I be mentoring?

All our sessions are one-to-one. The main point is to build relationship. The creative process is powerful and has enormous value and power to improve and sustain wellbeing yet at its simplest it is the vehicle by which we build the relationships. Again it all depends on your capacity. You could take just two artists on, each of them having one session a week. Or you could build that up to twelve artists over time and do one session for each of them once a fortnight! So it's as much or as little as you can give!

Would I get travel costs covered?

Yes if you become a mentor then we will cover travel costs up to £5 a time (as long as we actually have some money in our bank account!!) 

Do you need me to commit for a certain period of time? 

Of course if you had to stop at any point that would be ok there is no obligation. But we would encourage you to think carefully about this and the commitment it represents. The purpose is to build relationships and to do that properly, takes time. Our young people benefit from consistency and the feedback we have from them is that they like BIRD because they always see the same mentor. So longevity and consistency are important as much as is possible for volunteers to commit to. In an Ideal scenario a minimum of a year would be great, but we appreciate that's a big commitment and may not be possible.

Are there any contracts or necessary paperwork to be filled out before joining as a mentor? 

We will need to go though some training, safeguarding and a recruitment process but no, no contracts for volunteers.

Does BIRD set any specific goals for the young people that I as a volunteer would work with them to reach? 

It very much depends on the individual and what they want to achieve. So far we haven't set really 'goals' other than to develop the young person both as an artist and as an individual (we believe the two are mutually dependant!) Our goal is to work towards a portfolio of work they can be proud of and to give them somewhere they can come and feel safe and talk to someone about stuff if they want to; somewhere they can be themselves, express themselves freely, and develop their creative voice.

 We do have questionnaires that we ask the Artists to fill out that are designed to measure: wellbeing, self-esteem, and interpersonal functioning. Improvement in each of these areas would definitely be included in what you might call goals!