Mosaic was founded ten years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales, to help young people from our most disadvantaged communities fulfil their potential, and with a particular focus on those from Muslim communities.
The Prince was particularly interested in connecting everyday Muslim role models to those young people who didn’t have access to them. In so doing he wanted to help them visualise success in a form that they can both relate, and aspire to. By doing this successfully, we knew we could bridge the gap between those young people’s aspirations and their attainment.
Many will say that the lack of accessible role models is a prevalent phenomenon across the country, and particularly acute in areas of high deprivation; and they would be right. That is why it is so exciting to see Mosaic’s mentoring programmes now being rolled out to even more communities up and down the country at our not-so-new home now at The Prince’s Trust.
However, the unfortunate issue of Muslim communities being disproportionately present in areas of high deprivation continues to be a problem ten years later. According to a recent Social Mobility Commission report – ‘Social mobility challenges faced by young Muslims’ – nearly half of the Muslim population (46%) live in the 10% most deprived local authority districts across the UK, resulting in implications for access to resources, school attainment, progression to higher education as well as the availability of jobs, including those at postgraduate or managerial levels.
Over the past ten years, The Prince’s vision for Mosaic has been realised through a series of mentoring programmes which have benefited over 40,000 young people, and with the help of over 7,000 volunteer mentors working across 1,448 schools and prisons. Whilst this has been a helpful contribution, I know that much more needs to be done. We find ourselves in a situation where, if Mosaic didn’t exist, we would have to create it all over again.
We find ourselves in a situation, where if Mosaic didn’t exist, we would have to create it all over again.
Indeed, a recent Citizen’s UK report entitled ‘The Missing Muslims’ highlights Mosaic’s mentoring schemes as a much needed exemplar practice for how young people can be helped to increase their aspirations. Programmes and initiatives like Mosaic are essential interventions at a time when the Social Mobility Commission notes how ‘young Muslims in the UK are facing enormous social mobility barriers’ whilst being held back from reaching their full potential at every stage of their lives – owing to experiences of Islamophobia, discrimination and racism.
When we drill down on the data further, it paints a bleaker picture still. Within the economically active population in England and Wales, only 1 in 5 of the Muslim population is in full-time employment, compared to more than 1 in 3 of the overall population. And with those who are in employment, only 6% are in ‘higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations’ compared to 10% of the overall population. We also see Muslim women in the UK being more likely than all other women to be economically inactive, with 18% of economically active Muslims recorded as “looking after home and family” compared with 6% in the overall population.
These challenges are not small, but together they are challenges that we can overcome, and indeed must overcome. The causes are rich and diverse in nature, and no one organisation or approach will be able to provide a panacea. But one simple principle that I believe stands the test of time is as follows: by helping young people from all communities fulfill their potential, we increase their chances of contributing to more wholesome and cohesive societies.
It is for that reason I am delighted Mosaic’s integration into The Prince’s Trust has gone so well. By adding Mosaic’s mentoring programmes into the wider suite of Prince’s Trust programmes, alongside Mosaic’s expertise of engagement with a hard-to-reach community, The Trust is now very well positioned to positively impact young Muslim communities as well as the many other similar hard-to-reach communities who are in need of a helping hand across the UK.
Our challenge is to work across the UK to encourage more young Muslims to engage with The Trust and see us as a way to get their lives on track to live, to learn and to earn.