Frequently asked questions

Who can apply to be part of the mentoring programme?

Mentees: we welcome all patient groups no matter their size or goals to apply to be a part of the programme. All we ask is that they are motivated and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve.

Mentors: anyone with the time and capacity who believes they have something to offer to a rare disease patient group can apply to be a part of the mentoring programme.

We are particularly interested in people with experience in business management, running charities, communications, consultancy, leadership and life sciences. This is not an exhaustive list as the needs of our mentees vary, if you have applicable skills and want to help the rare community apply and we’ll try and find you a partner!

What is the time commitment?

Mentees and Mentors are expected to:

  • Meet for a minimum of an hour each month
  • Participate in three rounds of check-in calls (usually a 20-30 minute virtual conversation) with the Beacon team spread throughout the programme
  • Attend the kick-off meeting and closing celebration

Mentees are expect to:

  • Attend the first two training sessions (or catch up online)
  • To get the most out of the programme mentees should be able to dedicate 2 working days a month towards achieving their goals

Mentors are expected to:

  • Dedicate two hours a month to helping their mentee achieve their goals
  • Mentors are encouraged to attend the mentor training session


Do I need to work in the rare disease space in-order to be a mentor?

No, mentors do not need to be working within rare disease or have any previous experience of rare disease to participate on the programme.

All they require is applicable skills and the time and capacity to dedicate to the scheme.

How do you decide on who to pair with who?

We assign mentees with a mentor based on their respective needs, preferences and skills as identified in their application forms.

It is important to be as clear and in-depth in the application forms as possible to help us with process.

Do I need permission from my organisation to be a part of the programme?

Mentees: yes.

Mentee applicants will require approval from a fellow member of their organisation. This is to confirm that the mentees organisation is aware and happy for them to take part in the programme. Approval must be given by a senior member of the organisation, who is at least equal rank or higher to the Lead Mentees. This is likely to be your CEO, Chair of Trustees, a fellow Trustee or a fellow member of your groups organisational committee (if your group has no official structure).

Mentors: no.

Mentors may be supported by their company, however, they participate in the programme as an individual separate from any affiliations.

Can I end the partnership early?

At the first check-in call, approximately four months into the programme, mentees and mentors will be asked to confirm their desire to continue in the scheme.

If both partners are happy, Beacon will consider them as participating in the full programme.

We recognise that people’s circumstances can change throughout the year and there may come a time where you feel you cannot continue on the programme. We will try to support your continued involvement, but if this is not possible, you must inform both your mentoring partner and Beacon that you are withdrawing from the scheme.


If I apply, am I guaranteed to be matched with a partner?

While we endeavour to include every mentee and mentor who applies, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to find everyone a suitable partner.

If we are unable to match up a mentee and/or mentor at the launch of the programme, we will keep your information on file for up to six months in case a suitable partner can be found.


I've already been on Beacon's programme, can I apply again?

Yes. 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.


Can two people from the same patient group be a part of the programme?

Only one individual from a patient group can apply to be a part of the programme. This individual should remain consistent throughout and the menteeship should not be transferred to another member of the organisation (apart from in extenuating circumstances).

If preferred, a patient group can be represented by two individuals who work together on a singular set of goals with their mentor. In the event of two mentees participating in the programme, one should act as the “Lead Mentee”, who is responsible for applying for the programme, liaising with Beacon, scheduling check-in calls, and taking the lead in initiating contact with their mentor. The lead mentee and secondary mentee should remain consistent throughout the programme.

I don't live in the UK can I apply for the mentoring programme?


As a UK based charity, we prioritise applications from organisations serving UK patients, however we welcome and encourage applications from outside of the UK.

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 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.


If you have any other questions about the programme please contact