Meet the Mentors – Carers Week.

19 06 2012

It’s Carers Week. We’ve written plenty about carers and caring on this blog before: caring can be hugely rewarding but also extremely challenging, with carers often making huge sacrifices to care for family members or loved ones. Carers Week aims to bring attention to the huge numbers of those caring long hours, struggling to balance their duties with work, unpaid, and the huge numbers of young people who are providing hours of care per week.

Among our mentors we have carers young and old who want to share their experience and advice to help others in the same situation. If you’re seeking support as you provide care to a loved one, maybe a mentor could help?

Clara43, 44, from South Yorkshire
‘I was a young carer for my mum who has mental health problems and after training I set up and managed a young carers project providing emotional and practical support, information, advice and advocacy as well as therapeutic work. Many people when feeling alone and isolated turn to the internet for help. I hope to be a port of call for this.’

Shelley9912, 24, graduate in Forensic Psychology
‘My mother is mentally ill and she requires full-time care. Separate from the fact that my mother is mentally ill I know very well how it is to be a carer. I have sacrificed a lot to look after and help my mother and I know that sometimes those sacrifices that we make can go unnoticed. I know that being a carer can be very daunting at first.’

nicemum, 49, an adopter and birthmum
‘I’ve been a young carer who supported a parent suffering from depression and bereavement and two younger siblings. This is a mighty burden for any child to bear and it is a deeply formative experience, I am happy to talk to any carers out there.’

CateH, 40, a self employed childminder
‘I was a carer for my mum for many years, she had leukemia and dementia so I know how hard it is to be a carer and the need for support. I was my mum’s full time carer having given up work, so I lost a whole way of life. I miss her terribly and know the pain, physical and emotional, that comes with grief.’

carriesyrup, 29, a carer and reiki therapist
‘I look after my mum who has mental health problems, so I am a carer to my mum and also work as a carer for the elderly.  I love what I do and I love helping others. It has made me a better person in myself and now I am at a stage where I can help others through similar situations.’

To contact any of these mentors, simply click ‘contact mentor’ on their profile. If you are new to horsesmouth, you will need to register first – it’s free and easy! To search for other mentors to contact, or to sign up as a mentor yourself, go to our homepage. Good luck and happy mentoring!


Meet the mentor.

23 05 2012

As part of Dementia Awareness Week, we would like you to meet kennc: a mentor with our partner Living Well With Dementia. He is 62 and has early onset Lewy body dementia. A Dignity Champion, he mentors on horsesmouth to help others and give as much support as possible to everyone on the dementia journey. He agreed to share with us his experiences of mentoring on horsesmouth.

‘When I was told about horsesmouth I really did not know what it was nor did I understand what it was trying to achieve. However it soon became part of my life and I found that as someone with the illness, I could help others, whether they were people with dementia, carers, loved ones, or family friends.’

‘I have helped quite a few people and feel as if I have gained many new friends in return.’

‘This is an independent website where people can go for impartial support and advice about any illness, and no matter what illness you have there is always someone there to help and support you, day and night.’

‘Most of those on this website have experience in one form or another and although dementia is a big topic we always try to help, but do not give medical advice.’

‘The main problem is that although there are around 12 different types of dementia, there are well over 120 variations of the illness and each person goes down a different route and has different symptoms, so no two people with the illness are the same and this causes many problems with people who think that their symptoms don’t match the norm.’

‘I feel that it is sometimes a very good thing to have something like horsesmouth, as we get diagnosed with illness such as dementia and we feel totally numb, and after the diagnosis has sunk in the questions start to come. But there is not always someone around to give you the answers and this is where horsesmouth can come into its own, as there are people there most of the time and quite a few have the illness.’

‘I also feel that many people could enjoy the experience of mentoring and supporting others in their time of need, and when it works well you really get a buzz and a sense of achievement, ‘a job well done’, so I would recommend it to anyone who wants to become a mentor and help others through a difficult time, and usually help yourself in the process.’

‘So if you are willing to help and have the free time why don’t you come and join us?’

Why not take kennc up on on his invitation? You could start a mentoring relationship today that could change your life. Our Living Well With Dementia mentors have a wide range of experience. To read more, and maybe meet your future mentor, click here.

International Women’s Day.

8 03 2012

To celebrate International Women’s Day it seems only right to shout about some of our exceptional female mentors, of all ages and backgrounds, with every range of experience you could imagine – and then some.

There are women with unusual stories such as Chameleon, who completely changed her life and relocated to live in a hut in a forest in Norway; or Wings, a mother and self-professed housewife who learned how to pilot at the age of 40. There are women who have gathered a lifetime of experience and qualifications and simply want to share their wisdom. Then there are those who have had successful TV careers as well as getting their books published, or started successful businesses. And those who have added motherhood into the mix, too.

We have young female mentors offering advice on university life, love and relationships and the struggles that young women face such as eating disorders, school life and bullying.

Yet more inspirational mentors: those who have raised to the top of their game in business, who have managed to balance children, work and life, or simply women who found their path in life through trial and error and want to help others along the way. Then there are the visionaries who do what makes them tick instead of living inside the box.

One of the great advantages of horsesmouth is that it is anonymous. This means that subjects that might be difficult to express in real life are much easier to raise, honestly and without fear of judgement. We have mentors who advise on miscarriage, domestic violence, rape, and post-natal depression. And because we are fully moderated, you can be confident that these sensitive conversations are talking place securely.

All in all, as you would expect, the mix of our female mentors is as rich and varied as you would imagine, with the bonus of anonymity to enable freedom of expression. And of course, it’s totally free. So, if you haven’t already signed up, what are you waiting for — get involved today!

Mentor Mondays.

27 02 2012

For today’s Mentor Monday, we thought we’d share our house rules. Most important is to stay safe: don’t share any personal contact details, don’t meet anyone and don’t buy anything! That’s just common sense. (As well, our moderators will intervene if any personal information is swapped, so the site does have a safety net there for you. And in special instances, with the consent of both parties, we can consider waiving the strict safety rules.)

Also important is to say give feedback and thank you! Our thank you bank is an easy way to show appreciation to a mentor, or to someone who has shared a pearl of wisdom or a story. Simply click the ‘just say thank you’ link beneath the post, and it will let the person who posted know someone appreciated it. Always try to rate your mentor using the m-factor tool, as well. It encourages mentors to keep on volunteering their time.

Here are a few more guidelines that will help you get the most out of horsesmouth.

Show respect
Talk to more than one mentor – they’ll be able to help in different ways
Give feedback on the site so it can improve
Rate mentors
Be patient
Publish for the community
Think before you write
Drop by regularly
Seriously consider signing up to mentor other people
Recommend your friends sign up as mentors
Report any abuse of the site
Enjoy yourself

Give out personal information like addresses and phone numbers
Use the kind of ****ing language that might cause offence
Be rude – people are here to help
Take all advice as gospel
Buy anything from anyone via horsesmouth
Arrange to meet other users offline

Is there anything we missed?


Volunteering, made easy.

23 02 2012

Would you like to volunteer but feel you don’t have the time? People increasingly feel they do not have enough time to do everything they want to do in their lives, or the energy to do it. Research shows that 48% of people don’t believe they have enough time to do everything they want to do, and 56% feel they don’t that have the energy to get it done.

This is reflected in the plateau in people volunteering their time, as people feel they have less time to volunteer and prioritise their time more carefully.

All of which makes online mentoring the perfect option, if you feel that you are time-poor. The clear benefits of volunteering in this way are that it is flexible (you can choose when and how long you spend doing it), and you can you can do it from your laptop, cutting down on precious travelling time.

HopeItHelps, a 26 year old graduate explains, ‘This kind of mentoring is excellent as it is accessible. I think the best mentors are probably busy people who may not have time to actively go into their community but do have a few hours/minutes available to spend online.’

And there’s no need to train. Whatever your life experience is, from being a successful entrepreneur to a mother of twins (or maybe both!)… your advice, or even just a listening ear, is guaranteed to be of use to someone somewhere.

As one of our mentors ohsoserene says, ‘I joined horsesmouth as it seemed a very easy way to help people and it can fit around my own life. It’s too easy for people to become isolated these days and just having someone to talk to can be a life saver. Horsesmouth seems a perfect way to let people know they’re not alone in his fast moving, digital age.’

We even have a time tracker function on the site, which allows you to keep a track of how much time you’re spending on mentoring. Mentor theplayethic is a busy, successful father of two, and says, ‘I like the idea of being available for a few hours a week to share my practical knowledge and wisdom with others who might benefit from it.’

Another mentor, cosmicjulie, CEO of a social enterprise and an MA student sums it up perfectly, ‘I’m always keen to help others develop and looking for ways to use technology to make the most of the time I have available – horsesmouth provides an ideal solution for me to ‘volunteer’ in the way which suits me best.’

So, maybe volunteering is more accessible than you thought. Even just a few hours a week could make a real difference to someone’s life: a few hours here and there, multiplied by many, equals real change.

Even if you just want to find out more about what other volunteering options are out there and what might suit you best, horsesmouth can help. Ask one of our many mentors who volunteer and offer advice on volunteering

To register to mentor on horsesmouth today, click here.

‘I’d like to find my passion.’

17 02 2012

As the community manager here at horsesmouth, part of my job is to check that the mentor requests on our homepage get matched up with relevant mentors. This morning, I found this new call for help and couldn’t wait to pass some possible mentors along.

Hi! I happened across this site looking for a mentor or ‘life coach’. Usually those are also called parents. I never had any and while I have made it successfully enough through life, feel as though I am missing some important aspects. I’d like to find my ‘passion’ and live a happier life.

Please let me know if you might be able to help at all.

Thank you so very much, I sincerely appreciate it.

It’s a really touching call for help but to me the line, ‘I’d like to find my passion,’ really rang out. One of the great things about horsesmouth is that every mentor has a story, but some really stick out as particularly inspirational and visionary. I couldn’t wait to pop some along to our caller for help and, hopefully, have him find a mentor to encourage him to find his passion. I wanted to share a few of their stories with you. (And these are just a few among many!)

Chameleon, the forest dweller. Chameleon moved to Norway where she lives in a hut in the forest.  She has lived there for 2 years, thinking and cutting herself off from distractions of TV, newspapers, radio. She’s opening a retreat this year.

Wings – the flying housewife. Wings is the mother of two children, has been married for 21 years, started her own business and learned how to fly at 40.

Marbles, the superstar DJ. Marbles went from being a bedroom DJ to playing Glastonbury, having a top 30 record and now has a BBC Radio slot and a internet and publishing companies.

Joyuriel, the painter, poet and writer. Joyuriel is ’58 winters of age’, student in life, painter, poet, writer and also academic. Professionally qualified as a Parenting Consultant and in Youth Work. Carer for an autistic son. Breast cancer survivor.

Aglobal, the fun-loving global entrepreneur. Aglobal is a serial global entrepreneur whose motto is, ‘It’s all a game, lets play it.’ He says, ‘My vision is of a world of friends with one hand extended up to be lifted to higher achievements, and one hand extended down to lift a friend.’

When you read these mentors’ stories, all of whom have such active and busy lives but still find time to volunteer to mentor anonymously, I am sure you will agree they are incredibly inspiring. I hope our caller for help will find inspiration and hopefully, even his passion, with the advice and support of one or another of these mentors.

If you feel you can help our caller for help find his passion, go here if you’re a horsesmouth mentor, or register here to become a mentor.

This one’s for the ladies

18 01 2012

With figures released today showing that unemployment amongst women is at its highest since 1987, we’re having something of an impromptu ladies day here at horsesmouth.

Amongst other dismaying indicators, the figures showed that 1.128m women are currently unemployed, with more than a quarter of women having been out of work for more than a year. With the ongoing cuts in public sector funding and prohibitively high childcare costs, the outlook is that it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Of course, this is where mentoring comes into its own. With experienced horsesmouth mentors offering free advice across the board on issues such as how to apply for jobs successfully, returning to work after having children, and how to set up business; now more than ever is the time to sign up and forge some mentoring relationships. (Or, if you can, share your wisdom with those who need it.)

Take horsesmouth mentor sdoca. Offering mentoring on how to find a job and how to ace job interviews, she is now a successful web officer, having spent years looking for the right role. She says, ‘I know what it’s like to job hunt. I also helped a few people improving their CV and interview approach and find a job.’

‘I moved to the UK in 2001 and had 1- 3 job interviews per week for about 6 years until my permanent current role. This gave me a strong experience in job interview and the employment world. I have had several jobs and learnt what company are looking for, being a temp or on contracts.’

Another mentor, mumselfemp, returned to work part-time after her second child and found that she faced new challenges; of how you are perceived at work and how your goals as a mother conflict with work objectives. She says, ‘Acknowledging that change and what it means for your future can be stressful, especially as your day does not end when you finish work for the day or at the close of that last call at night. I feel this time in a parent’s career is critical to ensuring their happiness and I feel I could be useful to someone experiencing this challenge’.

Julierose  mentors for our partner Yell. On being a working mother she says, ‘Looking for the perfect balance? Impossible, stop searching. I’ve learnt as a full time working mother you should put extra effort into your time management skills – plus get recipes for 10 minute nutritious meals!’

‘It’s very difficult working and being a mother, but it’s achievable and rewarding. Guilt? Once you deal with issues of guilt – like not being able to pick your child up from school everyday, or join in each week’s sharing assembly – then you will find your own, calm equilibrium.’

Finally, BizOwner, a mentor with our partner everywoman, who champion and support women setting up business. ‘Since starting my own business I have had so many people give me guidance and advice, I understand how valuable it is to get another opinion. You don’t have to act on it but often it helps in seeing thing in a different way and that’s all you need sometimes to navigate your way around something.’

‘I couldn’t have got to where I am without being able to call on some more experienced people than me when I wasn’t sure what to do next. I believe in paying it forward. What use is experience and good advice if they’re kept to yourself? Pass them on, they don’t have an expiry date.’

If these stories inspire you, take the first step towards starting a mentor relationship today. It could provide the invaluable support, advice and inspiration you need to make that step towards achieving your goal; be it to get back to work, to change your career direction, or to start beating your own path in business.