Why is it important to increase diversity in our mentors?

Rosie Shead, Team Administrator

Josh Kirwan-Scott, Volunteer Recruitment and Communications Officer

At Chance UK, our volunteers mentor hundreds of children per year across London to help build their resilience and self-esteem. Through 1-1 mentoring sessions and group workshops, we aim to equip children with the right tools and inner resources to help them take control of their own lives. We operate within diverse communities in inner London and a high proportion of our children are of Black and ethnic minority heritage. Following the events of last year, Chance UK have committed to doing more to tackle racism and inequality around us. One way we can do this is to increase the diversity in our mentor pool so that it better reflects and supports the communities we serve. Our Equalities Strategy and Action Plan will be launching in March 2021.

Demographics of current children across all our mentoring programmes (February 2021)

We believe that the children we work with will greatly benefit from being provided with positive role models that look like them. Research has suggested that shared racial and ethnic identity between mentees and mentors might contribute to a general sense of similarity, which in turn can influence bonding in the mentoring relationship. Numerous studies have shown that the presence of Black teachers in the classroom is beneficial to Black pupils as they provide positive role models for children from similar backgrounds. Children from ethnic minority backgrounds will face additional challenges and barriers. Research has also shown that most Black children in the UK have experienced or witnessed racism at school are more likely to be unfairly discriminated against and excluded from school. A recent study by Harvard University found that the stress from coping with systemic racism and everyday discrimination can have significant lifelong effects on children’s development and physical and mental health. These are challenges that Black mentors may be uniquely positioned to guide Black children through.  

“We believe that children greatly benefit from being provided positive role models that look like them.”

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the exacerbation of inequality across the country means that our services have never been more crucial and children need our support more than ever. Our mentoring programmes help children to identify their strengths, build their self-esteem and develop their social and emotional skills so that they can better support themselves in the future. In this time of uncertainty and increasing inequality, our role of supporting children is vital. 

Get involved

If you would like to volunteer 2-4 hours of your time a week to benefit a child in your local community, please click here to find out more and sign up to volunteer as a mentor today. 

We provide full mentor training for our volunteers and you will be supported throughout your mentoring relationship by one of our Programme Managers. A monthly budget for mentoring activities is available and we can reimburse travel expenses up to £40 per month. 

Further reading 

If this is a topic that interests you, here are some other organisations doing amazing work in similar areas: 

Get In Touch

Subscribe to our mailing list

    Need to talk to someone?

    Contact a member of our staff

    Send us a message