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Support our young boys

A HELPING HAND: Karlett Manning, left, with some of the young people in Manchester following her plea to The Manhood Academy, based in north London, for help to support youngsters living in the north west

WHEN ONE Manchester mum encountered problems within the education system she took matters into her own hands and embarked on a campaign for change.

She’s now calling on the fathers, brothers and uncles in the community to take control and help support black boys in their transition to manhood.

Mental health assessment coordinator, Karlett Manning, is mum to three boys and says there are not enough services to support African-Caribbean boys at school.

Impressed by the work of The Manhood Academy in north London, she appealed to them for help to deliver similar programmes in Manchester.

She said: “I’ve been follow- ing the good work of this organisation for some time. They call on the elders in the community to help provide support to the younger generation. Their programme works, and if something works, why not share?”

She added: “If we are serious about implementing change for our young people then it’s important to do that. For the past nine years I’ve been dealing with issues regarding my son and I nd that some issues are culturally speci c but a lot of the services we need just aren’t there.”

The Manhood Academy delivers a community-based charitable programme to help young men between the ages of eight and 25 make the challenging transition from adolescence to adulthood.


The ‘rites of passage’ programme is a fusion of mentoring and coaching. Co-founder and operations director of The Manhood Academy, Davis Williams, said: “We act as role models and mentors for the young boys growing up, teaching them emotional intelligence, values and the importance of having positive beliefs. We also work with the parents and have made a real impact.

“Our main base is in north London where we run a two- year community programme, but we also work in many schools across London.

“There is a lot of need for our services and we have been in- vited to deliver the programme both around the UK and in other countries.”

Last year, Karlett was instrumental in organising the Black Child Agenda Conference in Manchester along with Cheryl Phoenix. Together, they set out to galvanise support against illegal exclusions and racism in Britain’s schools and tackle what they call the ‘schools to prison pipeline’.


“One of the outcomes from the evaluating documentation and workshops was a need for awareness events and a parent- ing network, both of which we have embarked upon.
“We have set up a parenting group, called Grassroots Parenting Network, meeting once a month,” added Garlett.

And on June 16 they will welcome directors from The Manhood Academy for boys to the Limelight Centre in Old Trafford where they will seek to inform attendees about the benefits of the programme and encourage them to sign up for training to deliver it.

Davis said: “At the moment we have a parent who brings her son from Manchester to London to participate in our programme. So, we know that there is a need for what we’re doing and it is humbling to be invited to Manchester.”

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