Client: Greater London Authority
The second phase of the Mayor of London’s Mentoring Programme (MMP) launched in October 2012, offering grant funding to enable local delivery partners (LDPs) to provide volunteer mentors to 1000 disadvantaged young black boys across 7 London boroughs who have been identified as underachieving and being at risk of possible exclusion. As the grant programme manager, Rocket Science helped the Greater London Authority (GLA) to promote the Mayor’s Mentoring Fund, assess applications, select and monitor 10 delivery organisations. The LDPs were funded to recruit, vet and train mentors, match them with a mentee, and then support each mentoring relationship for a period of up to 12 months. A range of different types of delivery partner was intentionally selected to run the programme – some school-based, others centred on youth centres.
Using sport to support mentoring
Two of the projects exploited their capacity to use sport as a hook to engage disaffected young boys, and of the close link between mentoring and coaching in the development of young people.
Tottenham Hotspur Foundation brought a strong focus on football, but also other team-based sports, which it uses to reach out to young people across North London. Connie Henry’s Track Academy, set up and run by the former GB Athlete, uses the disciplines of track-and-field athletics as the way of engaging and working with disadvantaged young people in Brent. Early evaluations of the MMP suggest that these sports-based elements of these two projects were an important feature of engaging young black boys and brokering mentoring relationships with appropriate volunteer role-models, and helping to sustain the mentoring relationships for up to a year.