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Preventing gang involvement and youth violence: advice for those commissioning mentoring programmes

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) is working with the Home Office on how to prevent gang and youth violence to enable children and young people to not only stay safe, but to thrive and flourish. This first report on mentoring responds to the work of many of the priority Ending Gang and Youth Violence areas, who are interested in the potential of mentoring as a way of working with children and young people to prevent them becoming involved in gangs or helping them to find alternatives and ways out if they do become involved.

Mentoring can be a valuable part of preventative work. There is evidence to suggest that it can have positive impacts if it is delivered in the right way to the right young people. However, other evidence shows that mentoring can sometimes have non-significant impacts, and if not implemented carefully there is also the risk of causing harm. This guidance sets out the sorts of questions that commissioners, including Police and Crime Commissioners and Community Safety Managers, should be asking and the sorts of things they might need to consider to maximise the positive impact of any local mentoring provision.

This guidance is part of the EIF’s “Advice” series. Our focus at the Foundation is on the flow of evidence between research, policy and practice. Our “Advice” publications are not full evidence reviews. They are designed to provide practical, timely advice to local commissioners and practitioners, drawing as robustly as possible and in a balanced way on relevant evidence, but equally on qualitative information and intelligence from local places about what they say is working for them. We hope that this guidance proves a valuable and accessible resource for those seeking to commission mentoring provision. As ever the responsibility is with commissioners and practitioners to ensure quality implementation, drawing on the best available advice and evidence but also monitoring impacts locally.