The Latest

City Hearts and Hope at Home partner to support survivors of Modern Slavery

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City Hearts have recently partnered with Hope at Home, a charity that provides housing for survivors of Modern Slavery, including those who have who have no recourse to public funds.

They provide ‘move-on accommodation’ by matching survivors who are exiting safe houses with volunteer host households.

City Hearts will be working alongside Hope at Home to provide specialist support to survivors being hosted, including training and other support around the long term needs of survivors.

“Hope at Home offer an excellent service that meets a real gap for survivors, offering them a safe place to stay when other options are bleak. We are excited about partnering with Hope at Home to offer specialist support to survivors who are being hosted by them, to ultimately accelerate survivors into lasting freedom.”

–          Phill Clayton, Head of Development for City Hearts

 

“It’s wonderful to partner with City Hearts and benefit from their expertise in supporting people as we know that collaboration is the key to bringing about sustainable freedom in the lives of survivors.”

–          Jared Hodgson, CEO of Hope at Home

City Hearts in the Sheffield Star

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Jess Bramhall weighed just four stone when she arrived in Sheffield nine years ago to join our residential Restore programme for women with life-controlling issues.

After graduating from the Restore programme, Jess went onto become a volunteer at City Hearts and is now a full-time health and wellbeing worker in our South Yorkshire team.

Jess recently shared her story in The Sheffield Star, raising awareness of the life-controlling issues she faced and the support available at City Hearts.

Jess is a true inspiration and a credit to our organisation.

Read the full article here.

City Hearts Launches in Mainland Europe

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We are excited to announce the launch of City Hearts in the Netherlands. We are working in collaboration with a number of individuals from C3 Rivers, a local church based in Arnhem, to offer practical support to women through a drop in, language café and life-coaching sessions.

“We are delighted to be taking our expertise and experience of supporting thousands of vulnerable and exploited people to Arnhem.  In the team in the Netherlands, we have found local partners who carry our values and desire to bring meaningful change to some of society’s most vulnerable, and we cannot wait to get started” – Ed Newton, CEO of City Hearts.

Though in the early stages of development, the Netherlands team are passionate about bringing real change to the lives of society’s most vulnerable, and have already began offering practical support to women.

Together, we are excited to embark upon this journey of pursuing freedom and restoring lives.

If you would like to get involved in supporting City Hearts Netherlands, you can email infonl@cityhearts.co.uk

City Hearts launches Emerging Voices project in Ghana

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2019 sees the beginning of innovative research project Emerging Voices, which aims to explore the next generation’s awareness of historic and modern slavery in Ghana, and to understand how this can help develop antislavery strategies.

The Antislavery Knowledge Network (AKN) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of its Network Plus call offers the first extended effort to address slavery as a development challenge in sub Saharan Africa via innovative approaches from the arts and humanities.

Emerging Voices builds on the existing work of City Hearts Africa’s unique educational development programme. The project will work with 60 young people living in the capital city of Accra, where many children live in poverty and thousands have already fallen into slavery and exploitation.

Visual and digital art sessions delivered by local art teachers will be used to explore awareness of forms of slavery and the impact they have. During the project the children and young people will visit sites, meet and hear from heritage experts and Ghanaians who have been exploited.

The project aims to equip children with the knowledge needed to build community antislavery strategies.

“Emerging voices is a bold, new and exciting project using the arts, heritage and technology as tools to explore past and present slavery in Ghana. The project will inspire young people to influence social change, creating a future free from slavery.”

 

– Phill Clayton, Head of Development 

 

 

 

 

        

Charities work together to give gifts to city’s child trafficking survivors

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City Hearts teamed up with the Sheffield Children’s Hospital to donate gifts to children in our care. 

After the Children’s Hospital received a donation of children’s slippers and ponchos, corporate partnerships manager Tchad Western reached out to City Hearts to offer these as gifts for the Christmas appeal. 

READ THE ARTICLE

City Hearts in the Sheffield Telegraph

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City Hearts Managing Director, Ed Newton, is in this week’s Sheffield Telegraph telling us about his favourite things, including the City Hearts staff team – that’s all 155 of us!

This year our amazing team have pursued the freedom and restored the lives of over 500 men, women and children who are survivors of modern slavery, and many others who have struggled with life controlling issues.

Read the full article here.

A Day in the Life of an About Face Case Worker

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Outside West Yorkshire is at its best with blue skies, green grass and grazing sheep, but the room where we meet Sophie is very different. In the New Hall Prison visiting room we’re cold, the only pretence at comfort comes from the foam padding on the seats.

Sophie is my first client today. We met seven months ago when she was referred to the About Face programme with a history of substance misuse from an early age, which led to a burglary conviction and time in a Young Offenders prison. We’d met with her and her alcohol worker, and had helped her join a volunteering organisation in order to fight one of the main barriers to her recovery: boredom.

Though all our clients volunteer for our services because they want to change, only four weeks in Sophie was recalled to prison after being found working the streets trying to earn money for drugs and alcohol. It’s rarely an easy road.

Today she looked tired and defeated. We are one of few visitors she gets. We talk about what education programmes she’s enrolled in and what her plans are for the next few months and by the time we say goodbye, she’s perked up and looking forward to the afternoon and getting outside for a few hours.

On our way to a home visit I get a call from South Yorkshire Police about Trevor. Trevor is one of our clients who has been doing really well, but now he’s broken his licensing conditions and is being recalled to prison. It’s a blow – Trevor had strong motivation to rebuild his life and most importantly to regain contact with his children. But he’s living in the community surrounded by the things he is trying to move on from, so it’s difficult.

There will always be bumps in the path from criminality to desistance that individuals like Trevor will need to navigate with our support. If Trevor is open to our visiting him in prison while he serves the remainder of his sentence we will. When he’s released we will do everything we can to support him as he integrates into a new community, and rebuilds his relationship with his kids.

My final meeting for the day is a good one. I go to see Brian at his home. He has a cup of tea and a huge smile waiting for me as he tells me he’s got a job. Three months ago we connected him with at a local community centre where he completed an employability skills training course, his local Job Centre arranged an interview for him, and a fantastic charity fitted him out with his very own brand new suit. For the first time in years, Brian feels motivated towards something positive and can see himself in a stable job. It’s a big win.

Each day as an About Face key worker brings new challenges for me and for the clients I work with. It’s never straightforward, and sometimes the setbacks can seem discouraging. But we don’t ever give up on a client, and we continue to work with someone for as long as they want our support. We’re working with a lot of people from very troubled backgrounds, but there are still so many positives, and no matter how small a victory is, we celebrate, as they represent a step in the direction of desistance from crime and into building a brand new life.

About Face supports men and women who have a history within the Criminal Justice System and are vulnerable to re-offending behaviour. Through a designated mentor, we prepare individuals for the transition from incarceration to integration into the community, helping them live positive and fully restored lives.
This service forms part of our commitment to starting at the source, supporting not just survivors but also perpetrators, to create a better society.

Top UK retailer John Lewis backs job scheme for slavery victims

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Britain’s largest department store group has joined a project that offers slavery victims four-week paid work placements that can lead to a permanent job.

Read the full article here.

Jonas’ Story

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Jonas was just days away from being sold into a paedophile ring.

He witnessed his mother’s brutal exploitation, acted as carer to her and his younger brother, but is now transitioning into a British High School with a new hope.
Children, like Jonas, are not financially supported by the Government’s provision in the same way their parents are. Waiting lists for therapy such as counselling is months long, and there is no provision at all for staff to work with children to assess their emotional needs and support with the family unit as a whole.

Their stories vary a lot, as some children come to us without any spoken English, others have difficult relationships with their parents due to being separated from them for lengths of time. Many have witnessed horrific crimes against their mothers and fathers and many have been part of unthinkable abuse.

Through the generous support of donors, we have been able to grow the Family Support team and expand the number of children that we can support. The team draw up individual plans of support for each child who are referred to the team, according to their needs and goals. As well as running family Drop-In’s, trips and school holiday activities, the Family Support team run one-to-one family unit or child sessions. These vary from behaviour charts, food taster sessions, emotional support, speech and English support, referring to local children’s groups, specialized children counselling and respite from family care.

Jonas, now 12 years old, lives with his mum and three year old brother. His mother suffered brutally when trafficked, and he experienced the most degrading and inhumane treatment too. When the two were rescued we discovered that Jonas was days away from being sold into a pedophile ring.

Since coming to City Hearts with his pregnant mum, and after his brother was born, Jonas has been a huge support and carer for his mum as she works through her trauma, and is helping to raise his little brother. He is the man of the house. All of this whilst being their translator and working through the normal struggles of a young boy transitioning to a British high school. The Family Support team have been involved with their family for a long time, but through your funding have been able to offer extra valuable support as they received the difficult news that Jonas was struggling and being bullied at school.

The Family Support worker became a key role of support for him, acting as mediator in the school bullying situation, and helped him build his confidence through anti-bullying role play, referring him to community young Carers groups, helping him to access specialized child counselling, a new sport club and respite activities. The activities have proved to be a huge support to him. During some of the most difficult weeks, when he was feeling particularly low – a couple of hours a week to just be a child, to relax, unwind and have fun really helped him to cope.

This is just one story, of one family.

 

City Hearts Launches in Aberdeen

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This month sees the launch of Modern Slavery Charity City Hearts in Aberdeen. Caring for some of the most vulnerable and exploited men, women and children in the country, City Hearts Aberdeen will begin their work by providing care for women with life controlling issues, with future plans to become part of the support network for the care of survivors of Modern Slavery in Scotland.

Scotland has been identified as the largest pathway of child trafficking in the United Kingdom, and the Scottish government are working hard to put into place policy and legislation that identifies and supports victims, and prosecute those found guilty of trafficking.

As part of the UK Government’s response to Modern Slavery, City Heart (UK) opened their doors in 2005 and have since cared for over 4000 victims of Modern Slavery. Their mission is to pursue the freedom and restore the lives of some of the most vulnerable and exploited people in society. They do this through services such as Safe Houses, Outreach Support, Counselling and Integration Programmes which promote independence, full integration into society and building trust in humanity once again.

In partnership with the Co-operative Group, City Hearts also hopes to develop the Bright Futures Programme in Scotland. In addition to providing training and work placements, the Bright Future Programme aims to employ 300 people who have been rescued from enslavement by 2020.

“We are really excited to be launching our charity in the North East of Scotland.  We hope to grow and establish the charity and link with agencies across the area to help survivors of modern slavery and those struggling with life controlling issues.”

– Kirsty Wilson, a City Hearts Regional Manager