The Valley at Work Volunteer Mentoring service is available free of charge for anyone planning or running a small business in Rossendale. The service is completely confidential.

To enquire about using our mentoring service, please contact

Mentoring is about one person helping another to achieve something. More specifically, something that is important to them – in this case starting or developing their own small business. It is about giving help and support in a non-threatening way, in a manner that the recipient will appreciate and value and that will empower them to move forward with confidence towards what they want to achieve. Mentoring is also concerned with creating an informal environment in which one person can feel encouraged to discuss their needs and circumstances openly and in confidence with another person who is in a position to be of positive help to them. With that understanding the Mentor can pass on the knowledge and connections that will help meet these needs.

A mentor is someone who will encourage and support a client to make the most of themselves and their business. Although the final decisions are always in the client’s hands, a mentor can be invaluable in guiding them to identify the support they need, consider their options and get new information. As mentor, their role is to be a trusted confidante, helping their clients to make informed choices.

Good mentoring can make a great difference to any type of business at any stage of its development and particularly at the start up/early trading phase. There is a mass of evidence to support this. There are mentoring programs available through the Chamber of Commerce, for certain high growth businesses via programs like Growth Accelerator, and for social enterprises through SELNET.

However, these are not well suited to businesses like the ones we’re aiming to support in Rossendale.  They need someone who understands the challenges of starting and maintaining a small business in a difficult environment. People with corporate or larger company experience (who make up the majority of mentors in other schemes) are less likely to be able to empathise with this situation and may be intimidating to potential clients.

Our Volunteer Mentors will guide and support you by:

  • Offering an outside perspective on you and your business
  • Listening, confidentially, to the things that are worrying clients about your business
  • Helping you by sharing their own experience of both failure and success
  • Giving friendly, unbiased support
  • Providing honest and constructive feedback
  • Being a sounding board for ideas
  • Helping you with your decision-making by suggesting alternatives based on personal and/or professional experience
  • Providing contacts and networks to further your personal and business development
  • Providing on-going support and encouragement
  • Connecting to the Valley at Work network. In this way any you have can be circulated and responded to. This will make sure that you can have access to a wider range of expertise, experience and knowledge when you need it.