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Black boys mentoring scheme 'actually working'

QUESTIONABLE PERFORMANCE: Mayor Boris Johnson and Ray Lewis at the launch of Capital Men in July 2012

ONE OF the senior organisers behind a previously failed project aimed at providing mentoring to young black boys claims the scheme's performance has been “encouraging.”

Backed by London mayor Boris Johnson, The Mayor’s Mentoring Programme has been devised to provide adult support to 1,000 black boys aged between 10-16 years.

Amanda Coyle, Assistant Director of Health & Communities at the Greater London Authority, said: “The Q1 [performance figures for the period between May and July] results are due to come out soon and they are looking encouraging.

"The model we have in place is actually working with local grassroots organisations who have the type of reach that we want, to be able to access vulnerable black youths."

Run in seven London boroughs, the scheme targets those perceived at risk of offending and committing antisocial behaviour.

According to the latest data - for the 12 months leading up to April 31, 2013 - the project attracted 490 young black boys to the scheme, close to its 500 mentee target.

Furthermore, the programme vetted and trained 443 mentors, reaching 96 per cent of its goal and managed to find pairings on 283 occasions – six per cent short of its target.

Previously, the programme was run by the University of East London, as the institution was seen by the mayoral office as the perfect “bridge” to connect young children and voluntary sector organisations – however, it was seen as a failure when only 122 pairings were made last year.

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