Mentor Team Remit
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. It has had some slight amendments made during March-June 2022 in line with current practice by request of the Mentor Team.
Role and Remit
- To offer assistance to local groups that require help.
- To act as the lead Team in identifying and offering help to struggling groups.
- 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 NGT 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.
- We welcome any Freegle Volunteer who meets the criteria and would like to offer their experience to help other volunteers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Two members of the New Groups Team (NGT) will act as links between the Mentor Team and NGT.
- The Mentors Coordinator will be the Development Group’s contact for any queries, clarifications or changes of practice.
- Contact Admins will be part of the team with specific and limited roles outlined in the Contacting Groups Procedure.
- The Board will have access to the Team group via ownership with an ilovefreegle.org email address (email@example.com).
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. 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 an experienced Freegle volunteer for a minimum of six months, and be familiar with the current Freegle platform.
- A Mentor needs to work to the agreed guidelines and configurations decided by the group, with an attitude that supports and encourages volunteers.
- 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.
- Liaising with NGT/Board/Development as appropriate.
- Appointing two liaison members for NGT 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
- The Mentor Team works from personal mailboxes and copies messages between themselves and the team for reference, firstname.lastname@example.org
- The discussion group for the Team is at https://groups.io/g/Freegle-mentors.
- Training is undertaken by a separate training group and can be requested by emailing email@example.com.
- Any Volunteer can contact the team in an emergency for assistance with urgent problems relating to the running of their group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- A group which appears to be abandoned as defined under the Abandoned Group Procedure https://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/Abandoned_Groups_Procedure
(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.
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 the team cooerdinator will seek a suitable mentor, 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
- The workload of individual team members
The Mentor Team will work from personal mailboxes and copy messages to a groups.io address for reference https://groups.io/g/Freegle-mentors.
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 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, or to prevent posts being auto-approved.
- Mentors are not expected to remain on Groups permanently although they may assist with making permanent moderation arrangements.
- 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 can be consulted.
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 
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.
Related Documents and Links
- Caretaker Groups
- Caretaker Group Rules
- New Group Support Procedures
- Contacting Groups Procedure
- Freegle Affiliation Policy
- Freegle Affiliated Group Area Guidelines
- Freegle Affiliated Group Name and Logo Guidelines
- Document Approval Policy
- Freegle Teams
- previous Freegle UK document Mentor Team