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My experience of mentoring

When I received the email regarding the Mentoring Scheme I initially dismissed it thinking I hadn’t been at Community Links long enough to get involved but my manager encouraged me to apply.


After submitting an expression of interest, I was excited to be paired with Ops Director Faye Oldroyd, but was a little nervous not knowing what to expect. I needn’t have worried as Faye made me feel very comfortable straight away and we had an informal chat about how I came to work at Community Links and what my interests were going forward. I was very honest and explained that I didn’t really know what direction I wanted my career to take. I thought I wanted to move up through management, but was worried I would miss client facing work.

Faye understood this completely and had lots of ideas to explore my interest in leadership, whilst maintaining a connection to front line service. Straight away I was connected to resources to help me learn more about the theory and science behind leadership and management. It was a great time to be a mentee as the merger was all about to happen and I got to see, first hand, how these theories work when put into practice.

Faye also helped my work on my public speaking (and important skill for leaders) and I attended a ‘Speaking with Impact’ course facilitated by Ops Manager Hazel Burleigh. Since then I have been invited to practise these skills, facilitating an ice-breaker at a Management Away Day and by delivering workshops at Foundation’s staff Conference.

I also got to attend a Senior Leadership Team  meeting and some sub-committee meetings which were very helpful to learn about how the company works day to day and what goes on behind the scenes. I helped organise the Community Links annual staff conference ‘Linking the Links’ in September which was a wonderful way to connect with people from all over the company. Mentorship has also led to me getting involved with other projects such as the Better Communities project, working with some of the hostels and the Young Dementia Leeds service.

Faye’s guidance and support has made me more knowledgeable and given me skills, but most importantly my confidence has grown massively. I no longer let nerves get in my way and will always put myself forward for opportunities! I have met lots of wonderful people and am looking forward to a long career with Community Links.

Jade Harper, Mental Health Support Worker, Stronger Families