What is Beyond the Banter

We believe the approach of upskilling and empowering credible messengers from communities is long overdue.

This is what Beyond the Banter set out to achieve – by upskilling and empowering a group of Black men and boys to have conversations in the community with their peers. By empowering individuals to start conversations directly in the community, our aspiration was that it would have a ripple effect outwards.

We set out to recruit Peer Educators. Through training and guidance we provided them with the tools and confidence to go out to the community and start conversations around mental wellbeing with young Black men and boys. The Peer Educators were not experts in mental health interventions. The aim was never to train individuals to become mental health professionals. The Peer Educators are simply there to get young people thinking about mental wellbeing and potentially taking the steps to seek help if needed.

Now, we’re sharing what we learnt in Beyond the Banter: A Professional’s Guide, with the hope that those working directly in the community can replicate the approach, with not just young Black men and boys – but other cohorts.

Download the guide

How we can help

If you feel you need additional support and guidance, please contact bd@saferlondon.org.uk if you want to discuss in further detail.

About this guide

This guide was made possible with support from the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime.

It is free open resource which we encourage you to use. However, we ask that you please respectfully credit Safer London and the Peer Educators when using this material.

Our sincere gratitude goes to the ‘Mind the Mandem’ 2021/22 Peer Educator cohort and Safer London project team. We’d also like to thank Crying SonsSpark2LifeCode 7Hackney Wick FC, and Dr Sian Peer for their role in developing the Beyond the Banter model and this professional’s guide, as well supporting the upskilling of the ‘Mind the Mandem’ cohort.

The model and hard work of the Peer Educators, the Safer London Beyond the Banter project team, and the community organisation partners, was recognised with a win in the Early Intervention category at the 2022 CYP Now Awards.