This article appears in the September issue of our International Corporate Structures Newsletter.
‘There’s been a stabbing’ … words you never want to hear. But in 1994, in an inner city playground in Southwark, London, there had been a stabbing and local youth worker Patrick Regan was asked to help the children cope with the aftermath. Patrick set up a lunch club, in the school, to help tackle knife crime.
After an article had been featured in ‘The Times’, and 17 people had pledged £25 per month, XLP was born. This year marks XLP’s 21st anniversary, and its work has rapidly expanded since those early days. But the vision has always been the same: to encourage young people to choose positive alternatives to gangs, knives and dropping out of education.
Today XLP works with over 1,500 11-18 year olds each week, on a one-to-one basis, or in small groups, in 9 inner boroughs in London – with a focus on mentoring at-risk young people who are facing exclusion from school, or are at risk of involvement in gangs, crime and anti-social behaviour.
XLP aims to provide young people with positive role models. They recruit, train, and supervise mentors who live in the local community. They are then matched with a referred young person and commit to providing 2 hours of face-to-face time each week for a minimum of 12 months. Over 90% of the young people have either remained in school, or returned to school, and are doing well after 12 months with a mentor.
XLP offers ways for young people to positively express themselves, share the issues they face, develop self-esteem, set goals and work hard to achieve them. Each week the charity visits 28 estates with three double decker buses, converted into mobile youth centres, targeting areas where there is too little or no youth work provision. The experienced youth workers aim to have multiple contact points with each young person, through also working in the schools and pupil referral units that the young people attend. Last year, XLP delivered in-class literacy and numeracy support, lunch clubs, assemblies, mentoring, and specialist lessons in some 50 different schools.
Arts activities and sports provide another crucial contact point, instilling discipline, promoting team work and the stimulating the young people to achieve goals.
This is XLP’s response to the issues young people face in inner city London, honed through 21 years of experience – and here’s some feedback from the young people themselves:
“Without XLP and Kevin mentoring me, I’d probably still be angry and scared. I’d have no confidence.” Derek
“I know that I can really trust and confide in the XLP youth workers and I know that if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now”. Chelsea
“XLP kept giving me opportunities… My confidence began to grow. I am now Head Girl at my school. Thanks XLP.” Tsote
LCN Legal has pledged to donate US$1,000 in cash to youth work charity XLP for every qualifying instruction in 2017 (see lcnlegal.com/csr for details). You can help us give more by recommending us for legal projects in our specialist areas of group structures and intercompany agreements, where we are acknowledged as experts. Just send us the details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on +44 20 3286 8868.