Blacks United in Learning Development (BUILD) is a mentoring programme for secondary-age children run by the Nottingham Afro-Caribbean Family and Friends Association and administered by June Hunter, chair of Nottingham Race Equality Council.
Afro-Caribbean children inNottinghamshire have been obtaining fewer GCSE passes than their white and Asian classmates (the gap equates to two grade Cs) but since 1991 black men and women from the community have, through the programme, been taking secondary pupils under their wing out of school hours The aim is to raise the young people's self-esteem, improve their academic performance, offer career guidance, increase their cultural awareness and improve their social skills.
Mentors and their protegees receive training funded by the county council and attend seminars. Half of a part-time post is paid for by the education department but funding for more staff is desperately needed.
"An LEA report in 1989-90 showed that black children were five times more likely to be excluded than their white peers," says June Hunter.
"We want to help children achieve better academically and socially and to acquire higher aspirations, to stem the tide of exclusions and unemployment later."