Supporting others through volunteering . . .


SOVA, founded in 1975 by a group of volunteers, is a leading national volunteer mentoring organization based in England and Wales. In 1982 SOVA began working with Social Services departments, recruiting, training and deploying volunteers to offer support and advice to young people within local communities.

This organization’s beliefs and primary aim is to strengthen the communities by involving volunteers in the promotion of social inclusion, the improvement of community safety, the rehabilitation of offenders and the reduction of crime rate. Its aim is mainly achieved by volunteers. They are the ones who bring skills, personal qualities and experience which complete those of professional staff members.

Photo SOVA

SOVA projects are developed in partnership with local agencies. Within these agencies, and using volunteers and paid staff, SOVA runs a wide variety of projects and programmes delivering services.

One of their projects is the Camden Young Peoples Mentoring Project (CYPMP). This program consists in a mentoring service, which provides volunteer mentors to young offenders, young people with antisocial behavior or at risk of offending. The young people SOVA works with are referred to its service via: the Youth Offending Service (YOS), the Youth Inclusion Support Panel (YISP), the Youth Inclusion Project (YIP) or the Resettlement and Aftercare Project (RAP).

The CYPMP recruits, trains and matches volunteers from the local community to work on a one on one basis and basically helps young people in the Camden area. The objective of this project is to prevent young people from 8 to 18, and who are known to the Integration Youth Servicies Society (IYSS), from entering or reentering the criminal justice system. By providing the young person with a volunteer mentor, SOVA hopes that the person will reach a stage in his or her life where offending or reoffending is not necessary.

Photo SOVA

SOVA works with a wide clientele based on four main groups: young people in the community, young people in custody, adults in the community and adults in custody.

To involve these young people SOVA projects provide support to all kinds of groups both within the community and in custody. In the spirit of social inclusion, any disadvantaged or excluded person is potentially a SOVA client. As a result, the young people with their volunteer mentors have achieved several outcomes such as an improvement in basic life skill, the movement from care home to semi independent living and the completion of course –and homework. By these activities many young offenders and people at risk of offending make a lot of progress in developing independent living skills and building up their qualifications.