University partners with Barnardo’s on new mentoring service

Birmingham City University (BCU) has partnered with children’s charity Barnardo’s and community interest company Our Place on a brand new mentoring programme, designed to help shape the future of Birmingham’s children and young people.

Posted 17 January 2023

A young man providing mentorship to a girl.

The programme - which is funded by Birmingham Children’s Trust – has been designed to recruit the local community including BCU students, graduates and staff into Volunteer Mentor roles to then be matched with a child or young person with additional wellbeing needs.

The service will form part of the Early Help system, which aims to emphasise early intervention in the lives of children, young people and families to stop potential specialist needs from escalating in the future.

As a Volunteer Mentor, BCU students and graduates will have the opportunity to gain real-life work experience through mentoring, while also helping to make a difference in their mentee’s life.

Better serving the Birmingham community 

“As the University for Birmingham, it is important to us that we continuously work together with organisations to help better serve the local community in which we are a part of,” says Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Birmingham City University.

“We look forward to working in partnership with Barnardo’s and Our Place to support in making a difference in a young person’s life, while also giving our students and graduates the opportunity to gain valuable skills.”  

Following a rigorous screening process, students and graduates who are successfully recruited as a Volunteer Mentor will be matched with a child or young person.

Once matched, Volunteer Mentors will meet with their mentee once a week for a 45-minute mentoring session over the course of six to 12 weeks.

Much-needed and much-welcomed mentorships 

Mentees will also have the opportunity to attend on-campus events organised by the team at BCU, in order to raise aspirations among young people.

“Barnardo’s Birmingham is excited to be working with Birmingham City University and Our Place in delivering this much-needed Early Help Mentoring Service to children and young people,” says Mary Lewis Children’s Services Manager, Barnardo’s.

“Our combined experience will ensure the volunteer mentors will be fully equipped to deal with any challenges and the different situations they may face when working with children and young people.

“As well as gaining real-life work experience, student and volunteer mentors will also have access to a diverse range of learning and development opportunities through Barnardo’s.” 

Additional opportunities and paid positions 

Those on the programme will also have:

  • Opportunities to move into paid mentor positions in the future
  • Access to internal vacancies at Barnardo’s
  • Opportunities to network with professional staff in the sector and access to full training through the charity.

“Our Place Support are an established provider of Mentoring services for children and young people.

"We are thrilled to be working alongside Barnardo’s and BCU in the delivery of this much needed Early Help service, giving us the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience for the benefit of Birmingham’s children and young people," says Kelly Round, CEO, Our Place.

BCU and Barnardo’s currently work closely to fill graduate-level roles, with this new project further strengthening the continued successful partnership.

In the future, the University will also work to refer appropriate members of staff and local employers to become mentors for the service.

If you are interested in finding out more or becoming a Volunteer Mentor, please visit