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Getting started FAQs

DBS checks

As part of our commitment to safeguarding young people, we require all our mentors to undergo an enhanced DBS check for the child workforce. Once you have finished the two initial module training sessions you will need to complete your DBS check.

  1. Option 1: If you’re not in the UK, let us know where you are so we can look at equivalents
  2. Option 2: If you are on the DBS Update Service, send us your certificate number you are registered with (it will start 001) and provide confirmation that the original check was enhanced and covered work with children, such as a photo of the certificate. We’ll use this to check your record on the Update Service
  3. Option 3: If you have an enhanced DBS, PVG or AccessNI certificate that covers work with children and is issued in the last three years, send us a photo or scan of it as we can use this instead of a new check
  4. Option 4: If you don’t already have a DBS/PVG/Access NI certificate but you do have a valid UK passport, we will arrange a DBS check for you that has a digital ID check. This means you’ll download an app during the application process, which will verify your passport and that it belongs to you. We’ll register you with our DBS provider, which will involve giving them your name, email and mobile number
  5. Option 5: If you don’t already have a DBS/PVG/Access NI certificate and you don’t have a valid UK passport, we will either arrange a virtual DBS check or a postal ID check. This means you’ll send your ID to our DBS provider and then do a video call so they can verify your identity. To proceed, let us know this applies to you and we'll register you with our DBS provider, which will involve giving them your name, email, postal address, mobile number and date of birth

It can vary a lot. Initially, it depends how quickly you are able to complete the form, post your documents and then do the video call to confirm your identity. DDC will submit your check to DBS immediately after your video call but then we have no control over how long it takes for the check to be complete.

Your application will be sent to the police forces in all areas you’ve lived in the last five years. How quickly they provide information to DBS will determine how quickly the check is complete. They have up to 60 days to do this. Some police forces will do it almost instantly, some will take most of the 60 days but most take two to three weeks.

There are different options depending on which ID documents you have. The online form from DDC (our DBS company) will guide you through selecting appropriate documents.

Government guidance determines what DDC can accept. You can read the guidance here: ID checking guidelines for standard/enhanced DBS check applications from 1 July 2021 - GOV.UK ( our mentors would be following route 1 and information of the ID documents in the different groups is further down in the guidance.

No unfortunately not. We need an enhanced DBS check to confirm it would be appropriate to allow you to work with under 18s and only an enhanced DBS for working with children with a barred list check provides us with the information we need to do this.

As many people now get their bank statements and bills online, this can sometimes be a challenge. The easiest solution to this is usually to switch a bill or statement to be sent to you in the post. You can then change it back once you’ve received one which you can use as proof of address.

Yes. For all mentors, who work with children and young people under the age of 18, a DBS or other police checks will be undertaken.

Brightside will request an Enhanced DBS disclosure and Children's Barred List information on all volunteers undertaking mentoring with children and young people. Under no circumstances will Brightside permit an unchecked volunteer to mentor. 


Check out our Get ready to mentor page for live opportunities and sign up directly.


The majority of our online mentoring projects run during UK term time, and so we allocate volunteers to projects towards the end of each term ready for the next one. This means that if you sign up to volunteer with us between October-December, you will likely be allocated to a project in January. We do our best to share projects as soon as one becomes available, so keep an eye out on the website!

Yes, we cap the number of people who can sign up so that we only have the number of mentors we need. So, once you have completed the sign-up form, you have a place on the project.


However, we cannot guarantee that you will be matched. This depends on the number of mentees recruited.


We’ll get in touch to provide more information shortly before the project starts.

On most projects, you can limit the number of mentees you match with to between 3 and 5. The actual number of mentees you match with depends on their selection, up to your set maximum.


Not reaching the maximum limit doesn't reflect your potential as a mentor; it simply means there might be fewer mentees interested in your area of work or degree subject on the project.


If you don't match with any mentees, we'll contact you and offer the opportunity to join the next relevant project starting soon.

The bio is the first thing your mentees see when choosing their mentor, so it’s important to write something which is clear, welcoming and catches the eye of a prospective mentee. It’s an opportunity to ‘sell yourself’ and emphasise what you can help mentees with.


Top tips:

  • Use your first name only
  • Aim for around five sentences in length
  • Use a friendly and approachable tone
  • Consider the mentees: what are their needs and how can you meet them?
  •  Include information on your current job/course, your hobbies and interests, and how you can help
  • Remember that language you use every day might not be familiar to mentees. For example, they might not understand what a project manager at a social mobility charity means. Instead you might describe it as organising projects at a charity that helps young people think about their futures
  • When sharing your interests, focus on one interest that really makes you unique – so instead of saying that you like Netflix, is there a series you’ve watched over and over again that you’re now famous for being obsessed with? Do you collect Pokemon socks? If you’re finding this difficult, ask your friends and family what they’d say about your interests

We recommend doing one to two projects at time, as you could be matched with up to five mentees. Please check the requirements and dates of the projects before signing up.

Our mentoring projects typically last between eight to 12 weeks.


We collaborate with partners to run our projects, and the duration of each project varies based on its objectives and target audience.

When initiating your mentoring conversation, the initial focus should be on getting to know each other and collaboratively establishing mentoring goals. Understanding your mentee's context, level of knowledge, and experience is crucial.


Considering that mentees may vary in their understanding of the benefits of regular mentoring and their goals, take the lead and suggest themes and topics to explore together.

  • Share some information about yourself, including your profession, and background. This helps your mentees get to know you better
  • Engage your mentees by asking questions about their subjects of study, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and interests. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of their individual interests and experiences
  • Remember that each young person may have unique aspirations, ranging from acquiring job-seeking skills and exploring long-term career paths, to not knowing what’s next. This means their goals may vary