In brief

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
Mentoring Disaffected Young People: an evaluation of Mentoring Plus

By Michael Shiner, Tara Young, Tim Newburn and Sylvie Groben

Joseph Rowntree Foundation pound;15.95

Life isn't like a feel-good movie. Life's like this: "On one residential, a young person attacked another with a pool cueI a Mentoring Plus sports day in London ended with a street fight between young people from different projects and the police had to be called." In other words, there are no quick fixes: as every teacher knows, just when you thought you were winning is the point at which they'll let you down.

The extent and depth of the disaffection among many of our young people is a crisis which can't be ignored. As a society we've no option but to keep trying. Mentoring Plus - a scheme with voluntary mentors in 10 local authorities (eight in London) - is a project that, says this report, "Challenges the old adage that 'nothing works'. It shows that positive interventions can be made that help to bring about fairly substantial changes in the lives of even the most highly disaffected young people."

As a research report, the book is necessarily a bit dry and heavy with statistics. Persevere with it, and you see that there's evidence to show that Mentoring Plus offers at least a hope of progress.

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