Founded in 2017 by youth practitioner and project manager Elaine Isadora Thomas, we are a not for profit youth organisation that aims to provide long term mentoring and youth engagement solutions to young people from black and marginalised communities.

Profile of our participants

We support young people between the ages of 10-25 from Hackney and surrounding boroughs. Typically from black, asian, minority ethnic, refugee or migrant backgrounds, with a parent that has a priority need. 

Those that participate in our programmes may have additional learning needs, be a looked after child or fell through the gaps in receiving support from their local authority social services. 

There may be concerns about school attainment and or be living in a domestic violence, substance abuse or long term unemployed household. 

Where parents are working* they may be working extremely hard to make ends meet and therefore not able to provide the structures and opportunities needed for their children to be safe in the neighbourhood, achieve and thrive.

*more commonly working in the City as cleaners, kitchen staff or security guards, 
or a Public Sector key workers. 
Percentage that receive free school meals
Percentage at risk of exclusion or have been excluded 
Percentage living in social housing or social housing estates
Percentage with a parent that has a priority need
Click to read our latest 
Youth Panel Consultation called

Knowing Our Beneficiaries
Our methodology

We do this by providing safe spaces where young people, through mentoring tools and techniques can; reflect on their current situation, explore opportunities available to them and develop the qualities needed to access the opportunities, succeed and secure their future.
Why we do what we do

We believe that the young people we serve are 'diamonds in the rough', with draw-dropping creative thinking, inspiring values and unsurpassable grit that is desperately needed in the British workforce. Yet young people from black and marginalised communities do not have access to solid, reliable guidance in how to focus their skills and talents, to help improve British industries most pressing issues, and improve all of our futures. 

Often living in cramped social housing, with a lack of access to green spaces, parents are trying their hardest to raise their children, whilst living with declining physical health, mental health conditions, domestic violence and or long term unemployment. 

Where parents are employed, they tend to work long hours to make ends meet, in low paid roles within the City of London as a cleaner, security guard, kitchen staff or for the Public Sector as frontline workers. For both unemployed, overworked and unpaid parents, they unfortunately do not have the capacity to provide the structure or gateways for young people to access quality industry related support networks, learning to achieve opportunities or solid career guidance to safeguard their future. 

With over 15 years experience in the youth sector Elaine, our Founder set out to demonstrate that black led community organisations can and should play a major role in supporting local young people and families. 

It is The Mentoring Lab's aim to work with Local Authorities and communities to increase young people's social mobility and reduce the circle of poverty.

What we offer
​We provide young people with opportunities to learn, develop skills and the qualities they need to succeed. 

We do this through the delivery of programmes that allow us to identify the most at risk vulnerable young people, who go on to benefit from our following services;

- Outcomes focused, evidenced based mentoring
- Detached, on estate youth engagement activities called Game Time*
- Online After School Club 
- One to one or group tuition for young people at risk of school exclusion

*By utilising GAME TIME as a gateway to engaging young people that have fallen through the gaps; we support young people in overcoming barriers to their progression and enable them to access wider opportunities, that would not otherwise be available to them.

How We improve young people's lives

By increasing the following protective factors in their life;

Positive social networks of support
Positive adult role models
Access to services and opportunities
Social and emotional skills
Supportive relationships
Healthy peer relationships
Opportunities to improve self-esteem

As a result we improve young people's

Soft skills 
Well being
Support network
Attitudes toward learning
Conflict-management skills
Interpersonal and communication skills
Mindset and thought patterns

What young people say after taking part in our activities.

At the end of each term and end of programme, we gather feedback from our participants. This is what they have to say.

I have a better understanding of work/career opportunities available to them
I have improved their communication skills
I am more reflective 
I am more committed 
I am more motivated 
I have met new people and made new friends since taking part in your sessions

What participants say they have developed as a result of taking part.

We give young people a safe space to reflect on their skills and values, and the workplace attitudes they will need to develop to be successful. 

With the support of our professional volunteers, participants have the opportunity to increase their understanding of how to operate in a workplace, thus developing more confidence and less fear about the world of work.
My critical thinking skills 
My problem solving skills
My listening skills
My attention to detail
My ability to persevere 
The Mentoring Lab has made a positive difference to my lockdown experience. 
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