LINKnet Mentoring Ltd (Company Number: 213148, Scottish Charity Number: SC029440) is the first and the only direct mentoring organisation that is established to serve minority ethnic communities in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Scottish Borders and Fife. It was established in 2000 to serve disadvantaged ethnic minorities in their pursuit of development. Over the years thousands have taken part in various mentoring programmes, education and employment mentoring being the core programme.
The History of LINKnet
LINKnet Mentoring project came into being on the 1st of November 2000 as a result of a national conference held in 1997, entitled, "Active Partnerships: The Multiple Benefits of Black/ Minority Ethnic Mentoring". This was organised in conjunction with Moray House Institute of Education, Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, Edinburgh's Telford College, University of Strathclyde and Skillnet Edinburgh. A project offering minority ethnic mentoring was identified as key to the future development of minority ethnic communities in Scotland. Among many reasons for the choice of mentoring as a tool to develop disadvantaged groups, the personal nature of a mentoring relationship was considered highly important. This was thought to be helpful in overcoming many barriers that minority ethnic people experience. Finding a path or opening up an avenue for a new person by an experienced person was also thought to be an effective way of avoiding discrimination and cutting down the length of time spent on the process of developing an individual.
A few years of hard work was done by the then steering group headed by Rowena Arshad prior to the incorporation of LINKnet Mentoring Limited as a private company limited on 24 November 2000 (Company Number-213148). LINKnet Mentoring Limited was officially recognised as a charitable voluntary organisation on 06 March 2001(Scottish Charity Number-SC029440). Having won a three-year award of £261,000.00 from Community Fund (Now Big Lottery Fund) the activities of the organisation started on 01 November 2000 with two full-time and one part-time members of staff at 31 Guthrie Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JG.
The Vision, Mission and Aims of LINKnet
LINKnet's vision is to maximise representation of minority ethnic people including refugees and asylum seekers in further and higher education, employment and public and civic life of Scottish society through structured mentoring programmes in order to help the establishment of an equitable society.
LINKnet's mission is to provide one to one mentoring support to minority ethnic individuals including refugees and asylum seekers in their pursuit of employment, education and personal development in order to improve their quality of life. Mentoring is offered on the strands of academic, career and personal development. Through individual development the project hopes to achieve a collective impact on the minority ethnic community as a whole in their struggle to be better represented.
LINKnet aims to:
eliminate/reduce inequality and disadvantage;
drive up public sector performance on equality and improve access to and benefit from public services by taking public services as formal partners to LINKnet's mentoring programme;
foster integration and promote dialogue and understanding between communities;
and develop the awareness and capacity of both majority and minority communities to engage with this agenda, to tackle racism and other disadvantages, promote equality by raising awareness of barriers to development, cultural diversity, community contributions to society and the economy through LINKnet's mentor training, mentee induction, information provision and public events.
Formal past partners
Saheliya, Sikh Sanjog, ELREC, Edinburgh Napier University, MEHIS
Formal current partners
Edinburgh Community Food, One Parent Families Scotland
LINKnet works with Shakti Women’s Aid, SWAP East, NKS, Milan, Score Scotland, The Welcoming, High Riggs Job Centre plus, Leith Walk Job Centre Plus and Wester Hails Job centre Plus, SDS, Access to Industry, Mid Lothian Voluntary Action, Volunteer Midlothian, Volunteer East Lothian, Volunteer Edinburgh, Multi Cultural Family Base, Mott MacDonald Engineering company.