Linknet Mentoring Ltd 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.
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 the 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 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 College (Granton Campus), 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 Ltd as a private company limited on 24 November 2000 (Company Number-213148). Linknet Mentoring Limited was officially recognised as a charitable voluntary organisation on 6 March 2001 (Scottish Charity Number-29440). Having won a three-year award of £261,000 from Community Fund (Now Big Lottery Fund) the activities of the organisation started on 1 November 2000 with two full-time and one part-time members of staff at 31 Guthrie Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JG.