£45m fund to help vulnerable young Londoners ‘make the right choices in life’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed plans for a £45m Young Londoners fund, with programmes aiming to combat knife crime and provide summer activities for vulnerable students transitioning to secondary school.

The Stepping Stones programme has been awarded £750,000 to help 15 schools in 10 boroughs to train, mentor and help vulnerable primary school leavers.

These at-risk children, who have low attendance and attainment, or an older sibling involved in a gang crime or known to police, will get English and Maths support, take part in career-based activities, and will receive weekly one-to-one meetings throughout their first year with trained year-10 mentors.

After a successful pilot run at Gladesmore Community School in South Tottenham, the program aims to help 2,100 students and the first round of students has already begun.

Headteacher Tony Hartney said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Stepping Stones project is to be expanded so that many more vulnerable children moving from primary to secondary school can be supported.

“This is a superb initiative that has proved to be effective in combating disaffection and transforming attitudes to education and learning. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

He added: “It gives them something positive to aim for over the long term and activities to participate in, in and out of usual school hours. This has all notably contributed to improved progress, behaviour and attendance.”

The first £5m of funding was put forward in March to add to the projects for Young Londoners already supported by City Hall.

These projects include work experience opportunities, and mental health support, with another £1.4m being invested for youth workers in major trauma centres and social workers to steer vulnerable people away from violence in the future.

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