Pioneering Empathy Project nominated for prestigious award

Published: 09 Nov 2018


A pioneering scheme set up by Hertfordshire County Council’s youth service, YC Hertfordshire, was named as a runner up at this year’s Helpforce Champion - National awards for Volunteers in Healthcare at an award ceremony in London on 8 November.

The Empathy Project, which was launched in October 2017, is delivered by YC Hertfordshire in collaboration with the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and East and North Herts NHS.

So far it has trained more than 100 young people as community navigators, able to administer social prescriptions and give emotional support to other young people attending A&E and children wards.

Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families, County Councillor Teresa Heritage said: “Congratulations to all of the staff and young volunteers who have given up their own time to do something really valuable and make a real difference to other young people in times of crisis. They have been able to offer a friendly helping hand by giving both practical and emotional support and have been of great help to hospital staff.”

The young volunteers work alongside trained YC Hertfordshire youth workers, as well as staff at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage and Watford General Hospital, to assist other young people, provide emotional support and practical help during their visit to A&E.

Since its launch, the project has received widespread acclaim. Dr Wendy Sykes, who led a review of the project said: “Empathy workers have relieved pressure on hospital staff, boosted the commitment of staff to prioritise mental health and emotional wellbeing, bridged gaps between A&E and specialist mental health teams and made themselves useful with practical tasks such as helping to resource the teenage corridor at the Lister Hospital.”

For more information about the Empathy Project and if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please visit www.ychertfordshire.org

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