Mentor Team Remit

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This remit was adopted by the Board at their meeting of 25th June 2015, and amended 9th March 2016 after discussion and recommendation by Development Group was approved by the Board.

Role and Remit

  • To offer one-to-one assistance to local groups that require help.
  • To act as the lead Team in identifying and offering help to struggling groups.

(Identification or help for struggling groups in no way forms part of a first move to removing group's owners or disaffiliation. The aim is to put in place best practices to avoid that.)

  • To offer a caretaking service for groups where local moderators are absent for a period of time.
  • To allocate new owners for Caretaker groups as appropriate.
  • To handle the processes of running and handing over Caretaker and Abandoned groups to new owners, including appropriate consultation with GAT and the Board.
  • To provide short term moderation support for any group for holiday, illness or any other emergency.
  • To help provide communication to groups by Contact Admins as part of the Contacting Groups Procedure.


  • Any member of FreegleUK Central who meets the criteria and would like to offer their experience and/or time to help other Freegle volunteers and groups is welcomed. Email:
  • Two members of the Group Affiliation Team (GAT) will act as links between the Mentor Team and the GAT.
  • The Mentors Coordinator will be the Development Group’s contact for any queries, clarifications or changes of practice.
  • A Director will be appointed by the Board to be the Board Observer.
  • Contact Admins will be part of the team with specific and limited roles outlined in the Contacting Groups Procedure.

Appointing Mentors to the Mentors Team

  • The Team will record the selection process/rationale and decide who they would like to join the Team. This decision will be made by a poll of a minimum of 4 days duration, carried by a simple majority of votes. The Board Observer has authority to act on behalf of the Board for the purposes of ratification. A list of the names of suitable candidates who were not selected will be retained by Mentors and the Board for consideration for future vacancies.
  • A prospective Mentor needs to have a proven record of running a reuse group, ideally being a Freegle volunteer or experienced moderator for a minimum of six months, be familiar with most of the current platforms used on Freegle, and be willing to learn about others.
  • A Mentor needs to work to the agreed guidelines and configurations decided by the group, with an attitude that supports and encourages members and moderators.
  • In respect of Caretaker and Abandoned groups, Mentors will need to work within any related agreed national procedures and guidelines (see Links section below).

Mentor Team Coordinator

The Mentor Team Coordinator is responsible for the following tasks:

  • Ensuring the workload is spread evenly and all jobs are taken on by someone,
  • Emailing groups that seem to be struggling or are not being actively moderated.
  • Ensuring the Mentors spreadsheet, the Caretakers spreadsheet and other databases and records are kept up to date.
  • Compiling a monthly report summarising activities of the Team, posting this to Central and archiving on the Wiki.
  • Responding to the Mentors mailbox enquiries and new requests for help.
  • Maintaining a task list and liaising with the Team over allocation of work.
  • Liaising with GAT/Board/Development as appropriate.
  • Appointing one other liaison for GAT from the Team.
  • Arranging recruitment of new Mentors/Caretakers.
  • Appointing any further role holders (eg. Deputy) as necessary to help fulfil the remit of the Team.
  • Liaising when required with Contact Admins for the Contacting Group Procedure.

Appointment of Coordinator

The role will be open to all Mentors on the Team. Required skills and availability should be considered when appointing. Appointment can be either via consensus (if there is one candidate on which the Group agrees) or a poll of members of the Team. If a poll is required, it will be for a minimum of 4 days duration, carried by a simple majority of votes.

Termination of Role of Coordinator

  • The Coordinator can stand down at any time by informing the Team.
  • If Mentors feel the role is not being fulfilled then they should try to work with the role holder to help or failing that, the Board should be contacted to assist.
  • In extremis, Team members can call for a vote of no confidence to be run within the Team to retain or remove the person.

Working Space and Contact

Mentor Placement

a. A Mentor will be offered to:

  • Previously established newly affiliated groups for a period of six months.
  • Established groups who request help in order to deal with specific issues.
  • Groups that appear to be struggling(1) or have permanent or temporary problems with running their group.

b. A Mentor will be appointed to:

  • Each new group set up from scratch with new Moderators to Freegle, as part of New Group Support arrangements.

(1)These might be groups that aren’t moderated - that being where modding takes place once or twice a week or even less, or those whose message counts have taken a dramatic nosedive, or who rarely or never answer messages to the owner address. These are indicators that those groups are in serious danger of going under and the Mentors are able to offer help to avert that.

Working Practice

Each member of the Mentor Team has access to a google document spreadsheet where mods/Groups needing mentoring and mentor details are placed. Monthly confirmation of ongoing mentoring will be recorded.

When the Mentor Team is notified of a Group requiring help a mentor will place their name on the spreadsheet against a Group if they are available to help, bearing in mind particularly:

  • The times of day they are available and the times that the mod requesting help is available
  • Any specific requests made by the mod/Group requesting help
  • Knowledge of the area of the mod/Group requesting help
  • Spreading the workload between the Team would be ideal

The Mentor Team will work from personal mailboxes and copy messages to a separate Yahoo Group for reference. The Mentors will use their personal experience and knowledge of running Freegle groups to help with a variety of issues, including:

  • Dealing with difficult awkward situations/composing suitable messages
  • Tech, including Freegle Direct and the Mod Plug In/Modtools/Message Maker
  • Media/publicity/social media
  • Basic fundraising

Individual Mentors may not be experienced in all of these aspects but all will help find people who can help them.

Code of Practice for Mentors

  • Mentors will respect the autonomy of Groups and individual choice.
  • Mentors will be observers on Groups.
  • Mentors will normally be expected to have at least mod status on Groups in order to see pending posts but will not actively moderate the Group unless specifically asked by the Group moderators.
  • Mentors are not expected to remain on Groups permanently although they may assist with making permanent moderation arrangements.
  • Group Mentors (as part of New Group Support arrangements) will have owner status on groups.
  • All members of Mentors Team will promote the Best Practice guidelines for Freegle Groups.
  • When Mentors are involved with Caretaker or Abandoned groups, the relevant procedures and guidelines must be followed.
  • Any Mentor who believes they have any conflict of interest in respect of a particular group or volunteer will not take part in the decision making process for that group but can provide local background information/support if required.
  • Mentors should treat personal information of volunteers and any potential conflictual issues with other groups as confidential. If there is doubt about what constitutes confidential information, the Board Observer should be consulted.

Caretaker Groups

These are groups handed over to Freegle to be run centrally by Mentors because the owners no longer want them and there is no-one to run them. The intent is always to find and train a new mod Team, but due to time constraints these groups can remain in Mentor hands for a long time.

A Mentor is allocated as the Caretaker owner, with a second member of the mentor Team acting as a backup owner as a safety measure, and the names of the groups are added to the Caretaker list. This list is available here [1]

Good practice guidelines are followed by the Mentors when running a Caretaker groups, see Caretaker Groups and a common set of group rules used, see Caretaker Group Rules.

Abandoned Groups

If a group is considered to be abandoned, the Mentors follow the Abandoned Groups Procedure.

Reports and Review

Mentors will make a brief monthly report to Freegle UK Central on the number of groups being mentored/caretaken with details of groups that have transferred to which new owners. Mentors will bring any issues that the Mentors think need discussion to the Development Working Group. See [[2]] for list and links to the reports.

Related Documents and Links