Mayor’s Community Conversations programme reaches over 2000 volunteers to mentor black boys

28 September 2011

More than 2,000 adult volunteers - double the number expected -  have responded to the Mayor Boris Johnson's call to recruit 1000 adult volunteers to mentor black boys at risk of offending.

Many of the volunteers have been recruited during the Mayor's Community Conversations Programme, a series of events designed to work directly with the communities most affected by serious youth violence. The Mayor will announce the progress on his mentoring scheme at this evening's Community Conversation event in Lambeth. 

The mentoring scheme, which is part of the Mayor’s pioneering Team London drive to maximise volunteering in London, has now recruited 2040 volunteers to be put forward to train as mentors, just as the first mentors and mentees have been paired up this week in Waltham Forest and Brent, two of the seven mentoring boroughs, including Lambeth.

Tonight’s event, taking place in a community venue in Kennington, will be attended by local residents who will get a chance quiz the Mayor Boris Johnson and Deputy Mayor for Policing Kit Malthouse, alongside a panel of local experts in a theatre-style question and answer session.

The evening will be chaired by Reverend Dr Rosemarie Mallett, of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, who will be joined by other local representatives including Pastor Michael Smith, Founder of Word 4 Weapons, Elaine Holness, Director of Karibu Education Centre, Tom Chigbo, London Citizens & Citizens UK, and Cllr Rachel Heywood, Cabinet Member for Community Safety in Lambeth.   Local entrepreneur Levi Roots will join the audience. 

During the second half of the evening the audience will get the chance to take part in group workshops to discuss what is already going on in the community and the challenges it faces. Boris Johnson will also take part in these breakout sessions. 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "I want to thank everyone who has taken part in what has been the most ambitious community engagement programme ever attempted by City Hall.  Over the last nine months these events have helped recruit over 2,000 decent young men to join our drive to tackle serious youth violence through my mentoring scheme.  They have also helped us to tackle some of the many difficult issues behind youth violence in the city, well before the disturbances of this summer, for which I am indebted."

Reverend Dr Rosemarie Mallett, who will chair the evening, said: “The Mayor of London's Community Conversation in Lambeth comes at a time when many in the Borough have been reflecting on the summer disturbances, on ways to try to bring peace to our streets, on the safety and well-being of the whole community, and on building hope and growing aspirations amongst our young people. I hope that these conversations will help to build London-wide partnerships for positive action in these areas.”

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing, said: “A huge amount has been achieved over the last three years, but we know more work is needed for Londoners to be and feel safe. We want to work with people in their communities. They are ideally placed to understand the problems in their local area and how best to tackle them. We have a great deal to learn from those Londoners who are experts because of where they live and must work together to help those kids vulnerable to influence before it is too late.”

The Mayor's Mentoring Programme under Team London will provide appropriately trained adult mentors for a year, to a minimum of 1,000 black boys who may be at risk of offending, whether as victims or perpetrators.  The programme will initially run for three years in seven London boroughs with a disproportionate problem with criminality. The initial mentoring boroughs are Brent, Croydon, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark and Waltham Forest.

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors:

1. If you are interested in joining the Mayor’s Mentoring Programme go to:

http://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/public/types-of-volunteering/mentoring

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Fiona Laurent 020 7 983 4635 /fiona.laurent@london.gov.uk

PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100

DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000.