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HEARTS evaluation

The Help Each Asylum Seeker and Refugee To Settle (HEARTS) project ran for nine years in West Yorkshire. The service aimed to support refugee and asylum seeking young people and families through advocacy, skills based programmes, educational support and social activities.

Number of pages:

20 pages

Date published:

What is HEARTS?

What is HEARTS?

The HEARTS project in West Yorkshire helped young asylum seekers and refugees with a multitude of issues. These may include being in care, severe mental health problems, exposure to trauma, not in education, unresolved immigration status, poor housing conditions. 

It provided mentoring and keyworker/advocate support through a combination of one to one and group work.

The service also organised social activities, events, trips, as well as building awareness and influencing.

    group talking in circle

    Principles of HEARTS

    1. Solution  focused,  outcome  led  approach: We  agree  clear,  achievable  goals  with the young person which will be reviewed every step of the way
    2. Trauma informed support: Our teams of workers are ‘trauma informed’, which means that they specifically recognise, understand and can respond to the impact of trauma in the lives of young people that they work with
    3. Empowerment through adopting an asset based approach: Focus on the strengths, inner resources and capabilities of the young people as a means to enable them to better help themselves. 
    4. Consistency: Offering regular support by a consistent staff member/staff members
    5. Relationship of trust: Trustworthy, non-judgemental, reliable
    6. Role modelling positive social behaviour: We remain professional at all times and adopt clear boundaries
    7. Needs led: The length and intensity of the support depends on the young person’s needs; we work at the pace of the young person
    8. Inclusive: Promoting social inclusion and diversity

    Impact of HEARTS

    Between April 2016 and March 2019, the service provided 122 young people with one to one support, including 894 face to face sessions.

    The majority of young people (72%) were aged between the ages of 17 and 20, and nearly half of young people (44%) were on a care plan.



    of young people experienced positive change in friends


    experienced positive change in education

    The difference we made

    The service was effective in supporting young people and disrupting cycles of multiple disadvantage through the provision of a multi-lingual worker who could offer holistic support, which was not time-bound.

    The service has led to the development of a number of key partnerships, which still exist today. However, the evaluation has evidenced the need to ensure that relationships with partners extend beyond one individual, to safeguard against turnover of staff.

    Most other projects are time-limited – it’s a case of get in there, do this, get out. But cases for these young people can take a long time to resolve – and with HEARTS, we could be there for that time.

    The service has had a significant impact on young people. Young people have felt an increase in confidence and self-belief, and have been empowered to share their voice with other young people and other organisations.  Young people have been educated about their rights and entitlements, and supported when their mental health has suffered. Practically, young people have been introduced to solicitors, colleges, GPs, and housing providers. Their voice has been championed in advocacy.

    He [Worker] understood my situation. He talked me through college. I felt less sad, less lonely. I met people. I could learn English. He gave me good advice. When I felt bad, I could speak to him.

    Download the evaluation

    If you'd like more information, read the full evaluation.