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Launch of South Yorkshire Modern Slavery Partnership

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On Wednesday, City Hearts attended the launch of the South Yorkshire Modern Slavery Partnership. Funded by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner,  the partnership is led by  City Hearts, Snowdrop, Ashiana and South Yorkshire Police. It aims to tackle modern slavery across South Yorkshire through a collaborative approach, to ensure the region is a place of safety for survivors and a hostile region for those who exploit others.

Representatives from several organisations across South Yorkshire attended the launch to discuss the pressing issue of modern slavery, and have been invited to work in partnership to improve the region’s response.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Slavery is not a thing of the past but takes modern forms.  People are trafficked into this country by ruthless gangs and exploited in places of work, as domestic slaves and for sexual purposes.

 “This network brings partners together so that we can understand what is happening, help the victims – who are often intimidated and afraid – and prosecute the offenders.  Above all we need to rescue people from the appalling lives they lead once they are caught up in these different forms of modern slavery.

 “But there is a role for all of us to be alert and be willing to tell the authorities if we suspect something that seems wrong. Employers have a responsibility to ask questions about the firms they deal with.  We all have a responsibility to think about the services we access and who is working there.”

Kirsty Wilson, City Hearts South Yorkshire Regional Manager said, “We believe that partnership plays an integral part in our efforts to eradicate modern slavery. We are thrilled to be part of the South Yorkshire Modern Slavery Partnership, and look forward to working together with other anti-trafficking organisations to provide better survivor care.”

Celebrating our volunteer in The Sheffield Star!

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Our wonderful volunteer Claire, who is a trained hairdresser and massage therapist, gives up her time each week to cut and style our clients’ hair.

The positive difference a haircut can make to the confidence of survivors and their sense of identity is amazing to see.

Claire says “Women from all walks of life feel happier about themselves after a haircut. But for women rescued from trafficking, the experience makes them feel feminine again. A new image even signals a new direction for their lives.”

We are so thankful to Claire, and to all of our volunteers, for the work they do to support City Hearts and our clients.

Read the full story here – https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/people/how-hairdresser-claire-is-helping-to-give-trafficked-women-in-sheffield-a-new-beginning-67201

Asda and City Hearts launch pilot health and wellbeing intervention for survivors of Modern Slavery

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Yesterday four survivors of modern slavery took part in the first stages of Ingredients 4 Life, a pilot developed in collaboration between City Hearts and Asda, aimed at increasing confidence and independent living skills through cooking and healthy living recipes.

The course was delivered by Head Innovation Chef Mark Richmond in the aspirational environment of the innovation kitchens in Asda house.

City Hearts Head of Development Phillip Clayton said “we strive to put survivors front and centre in any aspect of development. Ensuring that their voice is part of the process leads to outcomes that are truly survivor focused.  We have found Asda’s approach to be innovative and sensitive, it is a pleasure to work with them to help survivors take their next steps.”

Forging Ahead programme leads to employment for three individuals

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Forging Ahead provides pathways to permanent employment for individuals seeking a life away from crime.

We work alongside Total Training Provision, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, South Yorkshire Police and a range of employers, to deliver a three week training course which provides skills and qualifications crucial to moving forward into employment.

Three individuals recently completed the training programme, gaining permanent employment with Amey Sheffield.

“Forging Ahead combines the passions of individuals from within the criminal justice and charitable sectors. Together, our aim is to create opportunities of employment for individuals with a history of offending behaviour. We want to change the landscape of employability for ex-offenders” – Stu Otten, About Face and Forging Ahead Co-ordinator.

Our current partner employers include Amey Sheffield, Sainsbury’s, Gripple, Timpson’s and Sheffield International Venues (SIV).

We are currently in the process of partnering with more employers and discussing future plans for apprenticeships, sponsorship, donations and endorsement.

If you are interested in partnering with us, email info@cityhearts.co.uk

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 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 

 

 

 

 

        

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.

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

City Hearts Statement – March 2018

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On 14th March, Channel 4 raised a number of concerns relating to some of the services provided by City Hearts to which we gave the following response:

“City Hearts is currently helping safeguard over 600 women, men and children – assisting them to recover from the evils of Modern Slavery. We have so far helped around 4,250 people to go on to lead fulfilling independent lives.

We seek to uphold the highest standards of excellence and diversity, and have been very disappointed to hear the allegations you have brought to our attention.

We are of course investigating these matters and in the meantime it would be inappropriate for us to comment publicly, especially in relation to the individuals involved.

We will in any event review our policies and procedures to try to make sure we are as supportive and protective as we can be in supporting people whose lives have been so badly harmed by the evil of Modern Slavery.”

City Hearts – March 2018