A Synthesis of Published Research on Mentoring and Befriending for The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation

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This review of published research on mentoring and befriending brings together evidence about research and practice in youth mentoring and befriending in the UK. It explores findings from academic literature and includes evidence from reports and summaries of mentoring and befriending projects from the UK. A considerable number of young people and volunteers have taken part in mentoring and befriending relationships in the UK in recent years. A number of reports have indicated that the experience of mentoring and befriending can be enjoyable and a positive experience for both mentors and mentees. However, research evidence about the value of the intervention has been at best mixed due largely to the complexity of approaches that exist and the lack of any longitudinal research. This synthesis explores some of these questions in relation to current research on the topic. It is important to take a hard look at mentoring and befriending and the ideas behind these forms of intervention in order to gain the most from work with young people. Since much of the research has focused on mentoring rather than befriending, the findings reported here tend to emphasise mentoring.

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