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.
Our aim

Our main aim is to improve the social capital and mobility of young people from black and marginalised communities. By achieving this, we can reach our ultimate mission; 

To end the circle of poverty for the young people we serve.

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

With over 15 years experience in the youth sector Elaine 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.

Who we work with
The young people we serve are typically aged 10-21 years old, live on housing estates and are 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 educational needs or be a looked after child or receive support from their local authority social services.

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
- 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.

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

Profile of our participants

We support young people between the ages of 10-25 from Hackney and surrounding boroughs. Our clients typically come from economically deprived backgrounds and marginalised immigrant communities. There may be concerns about school attainment. There may be issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse or unemployment. 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 achieve and thrive.
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

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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