By contrast Croydon is much more of an urban area and it has the highest number of young people in any London Borough, with many young people feeling stressed as a result of mental health challenges, poverty, troubled families, gangs, drugs and the many pressures of growing up. Those who have good support systems are lucky and can do well, but many don’t have the help they need and lose hope. Ment4 has a team of mentors ready to be alongside these young people, champion them and let them know how special they are.

Ment4 started helping troubled young people back in 2011 and those involved have helped change lives ever since. Ment4 provides in depth engagement with young people on a one-to-one basis. This helps to build trust in a way nothing else can and it helps the young people be open to new ways of thinking and behaviour. Ment4’s work is aimed at long term life change. This is achieved through a dedicated mentor spending at least five hours a week with each young person. Mentors will visit the young people’s homes and build relationships with their parents. They go wherever the young people like to go. One day it may be the gym or a burger bar, and the next it might be to court or a job interview. Ment4 achieves an astonishing 90% positive behaviour change and similarly high parental engagement. Ment4 helps young people in the criminal justice system and through their support re-offending has been reduced by over 75% compared to the local and national average.

Ment4’s Lead Director, Luke Peters aka Still Shadey, used to be one of those young people, who slipped into crime and violence, but turned his life around and is now helping to bring light into a [shady] world. Through Ment4 he is also helping transform his local community through the ReNew Addington initiative.

Ment4 is comprised of a relatively small team of mentors plus support staff. They consider themselves to be specialists in their field and their impact is vital, as it helps those who are trying to build hope and purpose for the many young people who have fallen into hopelessness, violence and crime.

Ment4 think of themselves in two ways: they are like prospectors panning for the gold in each young person, encouraging them to believe it is there. They also see themselves like a Snakes and Ladders board. Whenever a young person hits a snake and goes back down the board, they are not deserted but their mentors go down with them and help them learn their lessons and climb back up the board with them.

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