Black youths to get top role models
Wednesday July 30 2008
Geoff Thompson, a writer, teacher and self defence instructor, who is being cited as a black role model
Geoff Thompson, a writer, teacher and self defence instructor, who is being cited as a black role model. Photograph: Christopher Thomond
Geoff Thompson, former karate champion and founder of Manchester-based Youth Charter for Sport, Turning Point chief executive Lord [Victor] Adebowale, and head of the Housing Corporation, Steve Douglas, would all be welcome members of the first Black Boys' National Role Model programme.
Concerned that too often black boys aspire to role models that can glamorise crime, drugs and gangs, the government has launched a programme to find black male achievers to motivate black boys to achieve and succeed.
At least 20 national role models, from a diverse range of backgrounds and professions, will be selected by an independent panel, including Apprentice winner Tim Campbell and fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, to share their stories of success in schools, youth clubs and young offender institutes across England. Applicants will have the chance to mentor in their local area. Improving the visibility of positive black role models was one of the recommendations to the government by Reach, an independent group drawn from public services and academia with in-depth understanding of the barriers facing black boys.
Launching the programme, communities secretary Hazel Blears said: "There are thousands of role models out there who offer great examples for black boys to follow. This is about harnessing their potential, making them more visible and getting more young people on the right track." The recruitment campaign will run until September 2.
· To apply to be a black boys' national role model go to direct.gov.uk/reach