In June of this year, Redeeming Our Communities launched a ‘ROC Tele-Mentors’ project across the Reading area. The scheme was aimed at Reading families and was delivered in response to a request by the local authority in Reading and Thames Valley Police to support the many families they were aware of, who were struggling both in and through the present crisis.
Being relatively new to Reading, ROC lacked volunteers in the area so the support to Reading families was offered by our existing ROC volunteers that had been trained in ROC schemes up and down the country. The scheme, which was short term, was intended to close at the end of September but at the request of the police, and in response to anticipated local need as the schools returned, has now been extended until Christmas.
Initially the organisation intended to launch a full ROC Community Mentoring scheme in Reading once the pandemic had passed, but with no end in sight, both Reading Borough Council and Thames Valley Police have requested that ROC look to set up a dedicated ‘ROC Tele-Mentors’ scheme for Reading as a short to medium term option and recruit local folks as volunteer mentors.
Using a tried-and-tested model, ROC plan to roll out a mentoring service via phone and videocall to families in the early stages of need in January 2021. The scheme aims to provide early intervention support for families who are not in the ambit of social services and who don’t therefore require high intensity and specialist interventions around abuse, addictions, domestic violence.
Launching early in the new year would allow ROC to carry forward the support to Reading families begun by our volunteers across the country who will then be released back to supporting families in their own communities. The former plan (to launch the full family mentoring project in Reading) has not been abandoned, but in the light of the pandemic, postponed. It’s hoped there will be a natural progression from Tele-Mentors into the full project in due course.
Meanwhile, the ROC Tele-mentors Project is on the lookout for a Volunteer Project Co-ordinator who can help get things up and running in the new year. South-East Development Manager for ROC Paul Wilson would love churches to get involved with circulating details of the Tele-mentoring Project amongst their churches, networks and aligned organisations and encouraging interested people to get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org