Patient Group Mentoring Programme 2023-24

Beacon is delighted to announce the return on the Patient Group Mentoring Programme for the seventh time!


Applications open until the 20th February!

What is the purpose of the programme?

Strong patient groups are crucial when it comes to rare diseases. Not only do they connect with and support isolated patients, but they can also be a driving force when it comes to research and campaigning for patients’ interests.

Ensuring individuals who run patient groups – mostly patients or parents themselves – have the appropriate skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve their goals is therefore of utmost importance.

Beacon’s patient group mentoring programme provides an opportunity for rare disease advocacy groups to be paired with an experienced mentor for the course of a year

The programme helps patient groups get established, build their capacity and streamline their work in order to improve patient support services, implement new projects and/or increase their involvement in research.

By encouraging communication across mentoring pairs, it also aims to build a more unified rare disease community that works together for mutual benefit.

What’s different about the 2023-24 programme?


After running the mentoring programme for six years we have decided to do things a little differently this time.

A key change we have made is introducing a one month training period, with sessions to upskill both mentees and mentors, which will take place before the partnerships begin. These sessions will equip participants with the tools they need to make the most out of the programme.

Head to our about the programme page to find out more!

Resources Hub

Another exciting element we have introduced for the 2023-24 mentoring cohort is an exclusive virtual space on Beacon’s Resources Hub.

Here mentoring participants will find key information on the scheme, guides on how to make it a success, useful resources and downloadable templates.

The cohort will also be able to view the other mentors and mentees on the scheme alongside their skills/goals and will have the chance to connect with members beyond their mentoring partner.

If you haven’t been on our Resource Hub yet, check it out here!

Who can apply?

Applications are now open for both mentees and mentors who want to participate on the 2023-24 programme!


We welcome all patient group leaders who think they would benefit from the programme to apply to be mentees, no matter what stage your patient organisation is at or where you are based.

If you are a motivated leader with clear goals and vision, the mentoring programme could be exactly what you need to take your organisation to the next level.


You don’t have to be a part of the rare disease community to become a mentor, as long as you have applicable skills that could help a patient group leader.

Our mentees need support in a wide range of areas including charity management, communications, fundraising, life sciences and many more. If you believe you have something to offer the rare community – we want to hear from you!

Applications close on Monday the 20th February!

Read more on who is eligible for the programme

The programme is open to both new participants and those who have been involved before. Patient groups who have previously been mentees on the programme are actively encouraged to act as mentors on the scheme the next time around. If they wish to apply to be mentees again, Beacon will work to accommodate them but cannot guarantee continuation with the same mentor. Furthermore, priority will be given to organisations who have not participated in the scheme previously.

As a UK based charity, we prioritise applications from organisations serving UK patients, however we welcome and encourage applications from outside of the UK. In previous years we have had people from Canada, Germany, France, Israel and the U.S. successfully participate in the programme.

Such pairings will require special care.  All non-virtual events will be held in the UK and Beacon cannot guarantee full travel costs for non-UK participants to attend in person events. Given the nature of the programme it is important that all participants have good conversational English.

While we will endeavour to pair all successful applicants, we require mentoring pairs to be located within a 2-hour time difference to ensure ease of communication. Depending on who applies to the programme, this may affect our ability to pair some non-UK applicants.

With thanks to our sponsors