About the Team

The Mentoring Lab team safeguard young people and enhance protective factors around our participants to enhance progression and improve outcomes.

Our Youth Panel

We consult our youth panel before we plan a new programme or decide what we will do each term. They are our lighthouse, guiding our board of directors and delivery team to ensure our services are fit for purpose. 


Age 17


Age 14


Age 16


Age 21

Our Board of Directors

Meet our Board of Directors. All with lived experience similar to the young people and parents that we serve. 

Despite the inequalities black and marginalised communities still face, they have built careers and resilience that speaks to the issues and solutions The Mentoring Lab addresses on a daily basis.

  Elaine Thomas

Founder CEO
'Having trained hundreds of corporate volunteers in youth mentoring techniques I asked myself, why do young people not receive the same quality of coaching and mentoring that corporates receive? 

'That was the birth of The Mentoring Lab'

Elaine has a BSc in Social Research and Caribbean Studies and has worked in the youth sector since 2000. She knows just how difficult it can be to find professional youth workers, mentors and practitioners who are skilled in supporting the progression of black and marginalised youth. 

High quality youth work and mentoring delivered to the highest standard is what Elaine stands for; often saying 'youth work and mentoring is more than having friendly conversations, it is a science'.

'When I was younger I needed something like The Mentoring Lab and as a single parent my amazing mum has said that she needed an organisation like The Mentoring Lab to support her in raising her only son, my brother'.

'The programmes and resources we have designed, provide a solution to addressing issues faced by black and marginalised youth within youth work and youth mentoring'. 

'Our training aims to establish a community of highly experienced and trained youth practitioners who are equipped and mentally prepared to delivery the highest quality of youth work, mentoring and coaching to a generation that simply deserve our best'.

Expert Advisory Panel

We are honoured to have a team of leaders within industry and business that provide strategic advice and guidance to our Board of Directors and CEO. 

Meet Our Mentors


Peer Youth Mentor and Youth Panel Co-lead
Hi my name is Chiemeka, but call me Chi. I'm 16 years old and I'm currently a peer mentor for our black boys group mentoring project. 

I love everything to do with tech and gadgets that make life easier. 

You may have seen me working at Game Time and on the Greenwich Summer Youth Programme. I know I can look serious (because I'm working), but I'm really just a chilled out guy.

I would like to be an mechanical engineer, or fireman, or actor or therapist like Scott. As you can see I'm still figuring my career out. The good thing is that TML has given me lots of opportunities to think about what I want to do. Once my 'pandemic style' exams are over I'm sure I'll have a better idea of what path I want to take. 

Jean (JT)

SEN Tutor
My name is JT, and I am an expert youth mentor. 

I am passionate about professional football and I am still actively chasing a career in it. I train everyday and also play matches during the week and weekends. 

I am also very passionate about cars and the automotive industry. I am a massive car nerd. I could tell you everything about car. Furthermore I am interested in business and property management.

I am currently studying for a business management degree and project management. I have a diploma in sports (performance & excellence) and in multi-skills construction.

At TML I am an Expert Youth Mentor. I work in different types of schools and with different youth support organisations to guide young people towards becoming the best version of themselves through the TML toolkit.

If I were reincarnated into a fruit, I will be a tomato because the tomato is often misunderstood as being a vegetable, whereas it is indeed a fruit. Similarly, I am also often misunderstood. I can come across as mean and unpleasant where ironically I am the nicest man.
I have witnessed and survived a civil war.


Project assistant and Youth Panel Co-Lead
My name Is Kyrah and I am a Youth Mentor in training. I am very passionate when it comes to helping others. I am always there to listen and solve problems, even when I have my own to solve. 

Knowing I have helped someone or changed someone's day for the good makes me realise why I work with TML and how important we are to the young people. 

I have 3 GCSEs, 3 A-levels in, Media, Performing-arts and Theatrical Hair and make up and Level 2&3 in hairdressing which is where my creative and fun side displayed. 

Most importantly I am a young fun mum which is where my loving and caring side expresses but also guides me to the less creating but very professional path of the responsibility we have as a team when it comes to young people. Furthermore at TML I help with face-to-face sessions, online sessions and admin. 

Doing admin has shown me how much work and time is taken for each and every young person who is enrolled with us and working with the face-to-face deliveries allows me to understand and watch a young person develop week by week.


Expert Youth Mentor and Project Support 
My name is Mirela and I am an expert youth mentor at The Mentoring Lab. 

I have a passion for helping people understand and discover themselves through the creative process in order to reach their full potential. My educational background is connected by invisible strings that come together to serve my ultimate purpose; from Engineering to 3D Animation and Game Design and Finally, Fine Art at Middlesex University. 

I have a deep interest in creative forms of self-expression such as poetry and Art, psychotherapy, philosophy and Astrology. I’m a bit of a dark horse at sports too...When I’m not running around playing football with the young people I work with, I’m either nose deep in a book that explores the mysteries of the universe or grappling at my local Martial Arts Club. 

In The Mentoring Lab, I work as an Expert Mentor where I deliver 1:2:1 mentoring sessions as well as Art mentoring sessions with young people. I deliver (and assist) in the running of our GAMETIME session in Hackney as well as hosting weekly online art sessions where we explore different Art techniques, Culture and all forms of self expression. 

I do not believe in limitation and therefore my art sessions are a play where young people can come and discover their tool of expression; from poetry to paint.


Expert Youth Mentor and Mentoring Programme Coordinator
My name is Paris, and I am an expert youth mentor and coordinator of our mentoring programme. 

I am definitely the best football player in TML, and love helping young people develop their potential. I am interested in mental health and wellbeing, but I also love sports and active games. Hence I am furthering my studies in counselling teenagers so I can combine the two and provide therapeutic sports interventions. 

I am interested in football, I played a lot for teams when I was younger and played for Tottenham ladies when I was 16. I support Liverpool and love coaching now more than playing. I also love listening to music and going for walks in nature.

I have 10 gcse's, a btec national diploma in sport and a degree in sports science alongside coaching and fitness instructor qualifications, which has allowed me to coach football and multisports, leading me into behaviour management and mentoring in special schools and prus with young people with SEN.

I work with TML to plan and deliver a lot of the face-to-face GAMETIME activities in Hackney where I lead in the sports activities, as well as doing a lot of work with our new online platform which you are currently enjoying! I also support in organising the mentoring for you informing your parents of our mentoring program and matching mentors to mentees. I also am a mentor myself and specialise in sports, sen, girls only and academic/career mentoring.

If I were a fruit I would be a pineapple because they have a spikey protective outside and a soft sweet tasty inside. Just like me i have a hard outside but am sweet and soft really and they are the juiciest fruit EVER! Plus Everyone loves pineapples.

I come from a very talented family a few celebrities in my family however I have no talent myself 


SEN Tutor
I am Rukhsana a tutor.

I love travelling and enjoy photography and poetry. I specialise in teaching English Literacy. Other than my teaching qualifications I have a MA in Education and a BA Hons in Law and Marketing. I am also a Chartered Marketer and have a post graduate Diploma in Marketing.

I teach English at TML, which involves teaching, assessing, and reviewing learner needs, devising learning plans and monitoring progress. All sessions are online. 

If I were reincarnated, I would probably be a fig “a fruit from the garden of paradise”. I have a taste of honey-like sweetness in me, fresh figs require no fuss. I do not fuss around, I keep focused and just get on with it!

I love horses. We have stables abroad and they run races every year. Over 20 years ago, I climbed up Jabal an-Nour a mountain near Mecca, took me about 3 hours to climb. It is about 2,100 feet. I climbed it with no support and wearing flip flops, well beat that!
The home of professional youth mentoring


Fundraising Coordinator 
My name is Sarah, and I am a Fundraising Coordinator at The Mentoring Lab.

Outside of work I enjoy making the most of new experiences, whether that be trying out somewhere different to eat with family and friends, visiting an exhibition or travelling to a new place, I'm always up for something!

I have a degree in Marketing and I am currently studying for a masters in Branding, Communication and Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

At TML my main responsibilities are fundraising, to make the work we do possible. This involves organising events, applying for funding and reaching out to individuals in our community, local/start-up businesses as well as the rich and famous. 

If I were reincarnated into a fruit, I think I would be a banana because I have a thick skin and I am not put off by setbacks, but I’m also soft inside and have excellent people skills - I think they are loyal, trustworthy and dependable fruit, plus they are my favourite.

When I was younger, I competed in Rowing up to a national level, for Greenwich and South-East England, this taught me the importance of discipline, hard work and never giving up.


Expert Youth Mentor and Online Club Coordinator 
Hi, I'm Scott, expert youth mentor and coordinator of the amazing Online After School Club. 

I’m a massive psychology nerd as well as an avid drawer and reader. I also enjoy playing the piano too. I would like to say I’m into fitness, but I’ll be honest my gym membership is looking a little dusty! I love talking about ideas and having deep conversations, as well as encouraging others to chase their dreams.

I have a degree in Fine Art and a Masters qualification in Psychology. In short, I officially love people and love creativity! 

At TML, I’m involved in a few different projects like the mental health GAMETIME delivery in Hackney, some of the corporate and admin sides of TML as well as delivering sessions on public speaking and leadership. I’ve also been able to do some sessions on psychology as well, which I could talk about for hours. 

If I were reincarnated into a fruit, I would probably be an orange - I love the sun, I have a soft inside and I always enjoy hanging out with people - I have time to share with everyone, kind of like sharing around the segments of an orange!

An interesting fact that I should also mention - I hate fish!! But you’ll have to ask me about that later. 
The home of professional youth mentoring


Expert Youth Mentor and Tutor
Hi I’m Sumaiya, and I am an expert youth mentor and tutor at The Mentoring Lab.

My interests include henna, food and photography! I love to be creative even if I’m not the best artist or baker, it’s always fun! During the lockdown I also learnt how to do embroidery with all the free time I had- I did try to knit but that didn’t work out so well.

I am currently completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology and I hope to pursue a masters in Economic Psychology. I also have A levels in Maths, Economics, Computer Science and Physics. Yes, I know my A levels are completely different from my degree!

I am a tutor and youth mentor at TML, I have created a new learning plan which embeds our mentoring tools into academic tuition and worked with lots of young people for 1:1 and group sessions!

If I were a fruit, I would be a crossbreed of a mango and lychee!! They’re both super sweet just like me of course. Both are exotic (which i guess you could say about me even though I’ve been in the UK my whole life) and they’re just my favourite fruits :)

I’ve ran my own charity project since I was 13 years old and have met some of the refugees that we have helped through our fundraisers- an amazing experience I could talk about for ages (maybe this time without tears!). 

This year we reached a milestone of raising the most we have ever in the last 6 years and was able to build over 10 and repair 15 broken tube wells in my village back home in Bangladesh providing accessible clean water to those who live there.
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