The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Chair of London Councils, Georgia Gould, have today announced that every young Londoner in need of support will have access to a personal mentor by 2024 – one of his key manifesto pledges.
This will be delivered as part of a New Deal for Young People, with City Hall, London boroughs, community groups and others across the city working in partnership to put young Londoners at the heart of the recovery from the pandemic.
The commitment is to provide access to a dedicated mentor to young Londoners who are most in need of support and who face the biggest challenges to reaching their potential. This includes children who have been excluded from school or college, those who are impacted by exploitation, young Londoners who are impacted by domestic violence or living in poverty, and those involved in the care system. Overall, there are roughly 100,000 young people in London who face these kinds of challenges.
Sadiq is kickstarting the action by announcing £7.2 million of investment from City Hall. The new funding will expand the mentoring offer in the capital now, helping young Londoners most in need get the help and support they deserve to reach their potential.
The new fund consists of £4.8 million for three programmes that will boost mentoring capacity and build on the incredible work already happening across London. It will expand mentoring for young people, including in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, and support local organisations to provide training and work experience.
Alongside this, the Mayor has announced today that London’s Violence Reduction Unit, which he set up in 2019, will invest £2.4m in a three-year mentoring programme. The new investment will build on the VRU’s determination to tackle school exclusions by investing in effective mentoring programmes to keep pupils in Pupil Referral Units, engaged in their education, motivated and supported to achieve their goals.
Young Londoners have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with a third either losing their jobs or being furloughed, compared to one in six older adults.  Far too many young people are working in insecure jobs with many on temporary or zero-hour contracts. Many more have seen training, education and employment opportunities reduce significantly in the last 20 months, making the need for support more important than ever to prevent increasing numbers of young Londoners being left vulnerable to exploitation or getting sucked into gangs and violence.
Throughout the pandemic, through City Hall, London Councils and London boroughs’ networks, young people and youth practitioners have championed the importance of a trusted personal relationship in transforming a young person’s life.
Today, the Mayor visited the Osmani Trust in Blackwell Reach to see first-hand how some of the Mayor’s investment is working to support mentoring for young people in Tower Hamlets.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “I’m determined to put young people at the heart of London’s recovery efforts and I’m proud to be delivering on my manifesto pledge to give every young Londoner in need access to a dedicated mentor by 2024.
“This will not only help prevent vulnerable young Londoners from being exploited or sucked into gangs and violence, but provide a helping hand for Londoners to reach their potential.
“Working in partnership with London Councils and boroughs, community groups, the youth sector and others across our city, I’m determined to ensure that every young Londoner in need of support has the positive opportunities and role model they deserve. This will play a critical part in helping us build a safer, fairer and more prosperous city, where no-one is left behind.”
Councillor Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils added, “With four in ten of London’s children living in poverty, working with trusted and inspiring adult mentors can help children and young people navigate some of the challenges that they face and go on to achieve their goals.
“The commitment to provide a trusted mentor to every young Londoner in need of support is fantastic and builds upon the work that councils in London have been doing in their local communities. Today’s announcement means that even more young people will be able to benefit from the nurturing, guidance and support that a mentoring relationship can provide.”