Community Panel Member

Local people are invited to volunteer on our
referral order panels to help support young people to
refrain from offending behaviour. Suffolk's Youth Offending and Prevention Service runs the panels, which came into operation in Suffolk, on 1st August 2000. Training is given to panel members, and anybody aged 18 and over who has an interest in working with young people is welcome to apply to join the pool of volunteer Community Panel Members. This is a real opportunity for local communities and the victims of crime to get involved directly in tackling youth offending in Suffolk.

Referral Order Panels consist of a Youth Offending Service Case Holder and two volunteer Panel Members. The Panel members participate as representatives of the community. The aim is to engage the young person to talk about their offending behaviour and identify factors that may cause them to offend.

The role of a volunteer Referral Order Panel member requires you to be an effective communicator; listening to what young people have to say and being confident in asking questions and challenging appropriately. It is important to be able to empathise with both the young person and the victim, whilst remaining impartial and to work within the boundaries of a Court Order. Team work is essential to this role, as well as understanding and working with issues of diversity.

Referral Order Panels can be both challenging and rewarding and this is a role that would be beneficial to those wishing to gain experience of working with young people.

Anyone interested in becoming a Community Panel Member (PDF, 38KB) should contact the Youth Offending Team.



“Mentoring is a one-to-one, non-judgmental relationship in which an individual voluntarily gives time to support and encourage another. This is typically developed at a time of transition in the mentee’s life, and lasts for a significant and sustained period of time.”
Mentoring & Befriending Foundation 

Suffolk Youth Offending and Prevention Service matches mentors with young people between 8-17 years old. The mentoring relationship is reviewed at least every 3 months and can be extended to a maximum of 12 months.

The role of a mentor involves meeting with a mentee approximately once a week using a structured mentoring approach. There are many different reasons as to why a young person would like a mentor, but overall a mentor is there to support, encourage and ensure a positive experience for the mentee.

Suffolk Youth Offending and Prevention Service supports a mentor for them to succeed and have the confidence in their role. With regular supervision from professionals, and group supervision sessions to meet other mentors, sharing experiences and offering peer support, mentors are well supported in their roles.

Mentors come from any background and there is no need for any specific educational qualifications. All is needed for a mentor is to have excellent communication and people skills, to be a positive role model, reliable, and to be at least 18 years old.

The mentoring scheme is completely voluntarily on both sides of the mentoring relationship, therefore it a choice for young people to engage just as much as it is a choice for the mentor. Voluntary engagement as a foundational principal means that young people involved are more likely to be enthusiastic and eager to meet with their mentor. 


Volunteering with YOS

The Youth Offending Team in Leeds have produced some short videos about volunteering with a YOS, if you would find it helpful to increase your understanding of the volunteering roles we currently have on offer then you might find it helpful to have a look. The videos can be found here: 



We are currently not recruiting for volunteers. If you would like to be informed when we are recruiting, please contact your Local Suffolk YOS Office