ROLE models are wanted for young men who may have ‘lost their way’ to help them get their lives back on track again.

The Oxford branch of the group A Band of Brothers, based in Blackbird Leys, has launched a drive to get more ‘everyday heroes’ involved in their work with vulnerable young men.

After starting in Oxford in 2016, the group has worked with dozens of men who may have come out of prison or were mixed up with gangs and crime.

As they prepare to start supporting a new cohort, the group needs older men to act as mentors for the duration of the programme.

Local convenor Conroy Harris, who has worked in health and social care for 20 years, said: “We are looking for everyday heroes – the type of people who want to put something back into their communities and mentor a young man who has lost his way in life.

“There are a lot of young men who are lost in the community and when they get lost, they can turn against society in general.

“A lot of the problems we see around us is because they do not have strong male role models.

“Single mothers do a fantastic job but many men will benefit from being around someone to bounce off when they need to and have someone there to help them when things are difficult.”

The group provides what it calls a ‘rites of passage’ weekend where young men learn to support each other and take part in activities that explore identity and sense of purpose.

Following this, the men are offered 13 weeks of one-to-one mentoring and are then invited to remain part of the community for as long as they like – knowing there will always be support there if needed.

Eventually, Mr Harris said, the idea is to help group members in their ‘transition’ from boys to men.

He said: “For everyone, there is a time between 16 and 24 when you are trying to discover who you are and what your community is.

“The decisions you make at this time can have an impact for the rest of your life.”

A Band of Brothers started nationally after stats revealed nine out of 10 people convicted of a crime were men including 97 per cent of all burglaries and 92 per cent of violence against another person.

The group's findings show that 80 per cent of young men who have worked with the group have not gone on to commit any future crimes.

Accepting referrals from probation officers and Oxfordshire County Council, in the autumn A Band of Brothers will hold another rites of passage weekend with eight to 10 young men.

The group wants to recruit between 12 and 15 older men to help them

Anyone interested should email to discuss the options.