Mentoring Inner City Youth 2024

by Urban Synergy in London, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £5,896

Gift Aid
+ est. £613.25
£50,000 target 4 days left
11% 51 supporters
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by 22nd April 2024 at 3:11pm

Helping students move from education into the workforce enhancing family financial stability & community social mobility

by Urban Synergy in London, England, United Kingdom

 donated match funding
Aviva Community Fund is providing live match funding


Urban Synergy is a charity that gets thousands of young people in the UK into work and higher education through mentoring.

It started in 2006, when our founder Leila Thomas realised that although children in Lewisham, South London - where she grew up and lives - could see the City and Canary Wharf from their bedroom windows, they rarely got to work there as adults. 


As a young mum building a career in technology Leila also knew that most big companies give their employees hours to volunteer in the community. Leila put 2 and 2 together and Urban Synergy was born.

She came up with the idea of matching pupils at risk of exclusion with a volunteer mentor from the corporate world.

Today Urban Synergy trains these mentors - who can be in any line of work, from the Postroom to the Boardroom - and does their DBS checks. The results for the 27,000 children supported so far include thousands of:

  • Graduations, GCSEs, A-stars, by pupils who had little chance of succeeding in education
  • Young people from less privileged backgrounds going to top universities
  • Work experience placements
  • Apprenticeships secured
  • Jobs gained in prestigious firms


 Urban Synergy support starts with children aged 9 upwards. We find inspirational role models - people who look and sound like them - and invite them into schools in urban areas.

These role models have overcome similar barriers to them, and they excite our young people about succeeding. They offer them a path to follow, and pass on the confidence to believe in themselves.

In Secondary schools, Youth & Basketball clubs we provide young people with mentors, hold online career seminars, and take them into companies to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace.


The problem:

We’ve all seen the headlines: unsafe streets, overcrowded classrooms, under-resourced communities. Add to that the assumption that young people in urban areas are “up to no good” and you have a recipe for societal and individual failure.

Exclusion from jobs and education leads to knife crime, gang membership, and the low esteem that fuels anti-social behaviour.

The Prince’s Trust recently found that the rising cost of living for young people was “threatening the aspirations of an entire generation”.

A third of those aged 16 to 25 told the NatWest Youth Index 2024 that they are unable to afford to take the qualifications they needed for the job they wanted.

One in 10 had to turn down a job because of costs. What we’ve found since 2006, is that when children and young people receive the helping hand of Urban Synergy and its volunteer mentors, they can and do succeed, often big time.

We just need your help to bring our mentoring model and career tools to every young person that needs them in the UK.


The solution:

We get in early and work with young people, meeting them at primary school and following them through secondary school, finding them a mentor to help with anything from homework, exams, CV writing and job interviews. 

Urban Synergy mentors also help our young people gain access to those all too elusive internships, work experience and apprenticeships. 

A large number have taken degrees and apprenticeships and are now working full time for the City companies that gave us access to their colleagues as mentors in the first place - becoming mentors to Urban Synergy’s young people themselves.

This is a virtuous cycle, and it could help so many more individuals.

Urban Synergy today focuses on those children and young people who simply need a helping hand (as well as those at risk of exclusion).

We give them the 1:1 attention that under-funded schools and overworked, stressed, or absent parents and teachers often can’t. Our mentors benefit from an increased sense of wellbeing and community connection.

And the companies the mentors come from get to meet the talent of the future, people from diverse backgrounds who have the raw talent, drive, and hunger to succeed.

This simple yet life changing idea could help every school in every city in the UK.


How we’ll use your funds:

Last year, Urban Synergy mentors volunteered more than 5,000 hours - giving young people vital access to skills, knowledge and that vitally important but invisible thing encouragement.

We don’t have large marketing budgets or teams. By keeping our costs small, every possible pound you give us helps young people directly. 

Thank you - from our heart to yours - for any help you can give young people growing up in the city, any city, more cities.

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