NYAS’ Project Unity has been nominated at the European Social Services Awards 2020.

The project features in the Research Project Award, which focuses on the influence of research on the development of services. CASCADE’s Dr Louise Roberts led a 5-year study looking at pregnancy and parenthood for care-experienced young people in Wales. The idea for the research came from young people and adults involved with Voices from Care Cymru, who had voiced concerns about the experiences and support available to young people in and leaving care when they become parents. Further details of the research findings can be found here.

NYAS joined forces with other organisations across the sector to participate in an expert advisory group that supported the research project. Informed by the emerging research findings, Project Unity provides holistic, intensive advocacy support to care experienced young mothers and expectant young mothers.

Intensive wraparound support is provided to young women in care who are either pregnant or have children at risk of entering the care system. The project focuses on keeping families together and breaking the cycle, whilst upholding the rights and entitlements of young women and their children.

The young women involved in the project have access to peer support from each other, establishing forums and opportunities to connect and reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness of being a young parent. This tailored, one-to-one support gives access to support with budgeting, housing, independent living skills and parenting, allowing mothers to overcome barriers, to eradicate risks/concerns identified by Children’s Services and to become active citizens within their community.

Sharon Lovell, National Executive Director of Wales, said “We have seen first-hand how valued support from the Project Unity is and we are proud that this is now a nationally available service in Wales. It’s fantastic that the project has been recognised and shortlisted for the prestigious Research Project Award at the European Social Services Awards and we would encourage everyone to vote!”

The recent evaluation can be found here, or you can read more about the project here. Voting for Project Unity at the European Social Services Awards 2020 can be found here.