News

13th May 2022

Reading based charity The Mustard Tree Foundation (MTF) is on the lookout for employers to help spread the work and encourage their employees to give just one hour a week to mentor or befriend a local person who is struggling with lack of confidence, low self esteem and poor wellbeing.

The MTF team are passionate that every individual has the opportunity to thrive and two of their projects, Starting Point and Engage, continue to grow and need new volunteers to mentor and befriend their clients.

They are looking for employers to help spread the work and encourage their employees to give just one hour a week to mentor or befriend a local person who is struggling with lack of confidence, low self esteem and poor wellbeing.

“Just one hour a week can make a huge and tangible difference in someone’s life,” explained Katherine Shepherd, CEO, “Watching a young person flourish into education or employment and supporting someone who struggles to get out of the house offers the volunteer themselves an amazing feeling of achievement and the knowledge that they are making a difference.  We are hoping our local business community will support this work by encouraging their teams to get involved with the community on their doorstep.”

Starting Point cares for young people aged between 11 and 25 years.  Their volunteer’s mentor young people who are at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) or are at risk of anti-social behaviour. 

“The difference a mentor can make in the life of a young person is incredible,” explained Sam Lloyd Project Director, “Our mentor’s listen and don’t judge.  One over our young people said recently ‘Before getting a Mentor I had low confidence, but since getting a mentor I feel believed in, I’ve gained confidence and take better care of myself’ Our volunteers make a huge difference.”

The Engage project also has an amazing team of volunteers.  The two befriending programmes are Engage Befriending which support older people who are isolated and Engage Wellbeing who care for those who are isolated and vulnerable aged between 25 and 54 years.

“Just one hour a week or fortnight can make a huge difference in the life of someone who are lonely and isolated,” commented Christine Munday (Project Director), “The Covid pandemic shone a light on those in our communities who need our support and this work is still needed.”

One of Engage Befriending service users recently said:  “I don’t feel so isolated – very much cheered.  It has meant a lot to me to have contact since I’ve been on my own.  It’s a nice natural friendship that we developed…I value it greatly.”


To find out more about volunteering opportunities, visit www.themustardtree.org or call 0118 956 7000.