Our History

Scottish Mentoring Network has been in existence since 1997 originally as an informal grouping of individuals and organisations interested in mentoring.

Since then, the number of organisations involved in mentoring has increased dramatically, as has the range of provision across all sectors. With funding from the Scottish Executive in April 2005 we were able to formalise the organisation, employ our first National Development Manager and develop a planned programme of work / activities over a 2 year period.

The continuation of core funding from the Scottish Government allowed us to further develop the role of SMN and, together with funding from the Big Lottery Dynamic Inclusive Communities Fund, enabled us to establish core services, thematic networks, the SMN Project Quality Award, an evaluation framework, our annual conference and recognition awards.

Our current funding has also enabled SMN to develop our services that support projects to develop mentoring programmes.  Our Mentoring in Practice service has all of the features of a successful project development partnership. We have worked in collaboration with the following users of this service to date: SHMU, SCVO CJS, The Robertson Trust; Children 1st; Cloch Housing Association (for apprentices); Didasko Education; Positive Changes (Scotland); SCAPP; Scottish Refugee Council; NHS Health Improvement Service (HMP Barlinnie), Glasgow School of Art, Parent Network Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, Sustrans, Working Rite, River Clyde Homes, SSERC, Optos, Link Living, Why Not Trust, National Trust for Scotland and Highland Third sector Interface

In previous years, SMN’s partnership working has included:

  • Collaboration with Intandem and YMCA Scotland in a Promise-funded research project mapping mentoring for care experienced children and young people.
  • Supporting the six Public Social Partnerships (PSPs) funded by the Reducing Reoffending Change Fund (RRCF), a joint initiative by the Scottish Government Justice Department and the Robertson Trust to reduce reoffending amongst all women offenders and persistent young male offenders. The independent evaluation of the RRCF published in February 2016 concluded “that mentoring is an effective approach which helps mentees to learn and implement constructive, non-criminal ways of addressing problems in their lives and to reduce risk factors associated with offending behaviour, and that there is a strong case for the continuation and expansion of mentoring services.”
  • Working with the Life Changes Trust to support its pilot peer mentoring programme, launched on 1st April 2015, with the specific aim of improving outcomes for care experienced young people transitioning from care.  
  • Supporting the Scottish Government to set up a long term National Mentoring Scheme for young people who are looked after at home. We are continuing to support  Inspiring Scotland as it delivers its  intandem mentoring programme which provides mentors for young people aged between 8 and 14 years who are looked after by their local authority but living at home. You can find out more about the intandem partner charities at SMN’s Mentoring Map

The core strength of SMN lies in the breadth and depth of experience of its member organisations. We will always seek to use this extensive pool of knowledge through the development and promotion of opportunities at local, thematic and national level to share good practice.