Why isn’t there a Big Brother Big Sister in the Big Society?

If ever there was a time for a national, co-ordinated, mentoring volunteering movement, the time is now. But a quick web search tells a very different story.

Take a look at Britain today. Armies of young people crying out for direction, support, attention – time. Around them armies of adults skilled in life wondering what they could do to make a simple difference. Why don’t we match the two? Obvious isn’t it. I guess that’s one of the challenges of the Big Society. People taking action. But despite several searches, there only seems to be a hotch potch of local opportunities, often poorly advertised, and to be honest poorly communicated. Amidst what seems like a massive level of complication, weak information, poor proposition and bureaucracy, these fledgling organisations are a long way from a movement.

Across the pond, Big Brothers Big Sisters have a different approach and experience. Simple proposition, national movement, clean style and offer, emotive solution and inspiring chance to make a difference. Why isn’t it here – right now? Where’s our movement? Where’s our emotional power and calling, our application of our marketing skills? Where’s our Big Brother Big Sister in every town and community? Why isn’t there a Big Brother Big Sister in the Big Society?

Posted in Brand, Charity, Citizenship, Community, Fundraising, Giving, Ideas, Innovation, Insight, Inspiration, Leadership, Strategy, Volunteers and tagged , , , , , , , , , .


  1. I agree, however having recently tried to become a mentor, the experience is off putting and upsetting, more bureaucracy and barriers in our way to help .. such a shame.

  2. Dear Stephen,

    When you get the chance please visit our website: http://www.friendshipworks.org.uk for information about the long-term mentoring service we have been providing for vulnerable children for over 33 years.

    You make an excellent point that children require direction, support and most importantly time. Friendship Works volunteer mentors are ordinary people making an extraordinary commitment to support a child on a weekly basis for an initial commitment of 2 years. Over 50% of all of the friendships we support last for over 5 years which is a testament to the quality of work that goes into establishing and supporting these relationships. Such extensive support is essential in order to avoid negative experiences, such as those mentioned by Natalie (comment above).

    If you would like any more information about the service we provide, which is based on the same model as ‘Big Brothers, Big Sisters’ in the US then please do not hesistate to contact me (amy@friendshipworks.org.uk or 0207 485 0900)

  3. Stephen, I agree wholeheartedly that Big Beothers Big Sisters would be a wonderful addition here in the UK.

    I know that Boris Johnson has/had a mentoring program in London but I am not sure how well that worked out.

    I worked as a consultant in New York for years, raising funds for BB/BS of New York City.

    The former executive director Allan Luks is amazing and has worked for years on mentoring and volunteer led projects. He can be found on Twitter @allanluks. I am sure he is on LinkedIn as well.

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