A project for care-experienced young mothers are offering their services in Cowbridge

A project for care-experienced young mothers are offering their services in Cowbridge.

Project Unity aims to help break the cycle of children being born to care-experienced young mothers entering the care system in Wales, with one-to-one person-centred intensive support and advocacy offered. They provide person-centred intensive support, peer support, opportunities, education and training to care experienced pregnant and new mothers; helping them engage with services, access practical and emotional support and learn new life skills with the aim of keeping families together. 

An All Wales initiative, Project Unity work alongside key partners including Local Authorities, Health Boards and Third Sector Agencies to promote the project and agree referral pathways. 

The Project will: 

Provide one-to-one person-centred intensive support and advocacy.

Take a trauma-informed approach to help young women overcome barriers to positive engagement with services.

Provide advice and training on healthy relationships. 

Work alongside key partners who specialise in providing support for victims of domestic abuse.

Signpost young women to support services to meet identified needs.

Help young women access training/education and employment t opportunities.

Provide information about rights and entitlements.

Develop in co-production with young women peer-led support groups to reduce feelings of isolation and build confidence,. 

Deliver workshops alongside partner agencies tailored to help young women build emotional resilience and enhance their life skills. 

Provide advice and assistance on managing benefits, tenancies and support with budgeting.

Deliver an annual conference for young women in Wales, planned, developed and delivered by the young women themselves.

Inform Welsh Government on the themes and issues affecting young care experienced pregnant and new mothers in Wales to influence policy and practice. 

Project criteria: Pregnant and new mothers up to the age of 25 in local authority care / care leavers / a history of being in the care system. 

Referrals can be made by the care experienced young women directly to NYAS Cymru, a person known to them who they trust or by a chosen professional. All referrals must have the consent of the young women and be made through the online referral system – help@nyas.net, or via the helpline telephone support line on 08088081001. 

Here at View Publishing, we have heard from those who know the services best, and just how helpful the project is. 

One young mother, who wished to not be named, said: “Project Unity is such an imperative service for young mothers that have experienced foster care. They supported me in every aspect, including court dates, with food shopping when my fridge-freezer broke, with getting a job and most importantly, with getting my son home. Without Project Unity, I have no idea how my life would have turned out and I’m so grateful for their support and guidance.” 

Another said: “When I have meetings coming up, they help me to have a voice. The project worker used to speak for me at my request but now I do it myself with their support. I’m more confident.”

A third said: “The woman assigned to me is so helpful, encouraging and supportive. This service changes the lives of young care women who otherwise would have nobody. They help me with my every-day needs, with both big and small problems, and provide me with support in every situation I encounter. I can even call just to have a chat if that’s what is needed, and I am never turned away or told to look elsewhere for any support. They really have made such a difference to not only mine, but many young women’s lives. 

It has also been reported that a number of young woman said that Project Unity had saved their lives, with one young woman stating: “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Unity. They pulled me back up when I was right down. I have been on the floor, not wanting to live, really dark times but Unity have a way of building you back up. They don’t judge you. I’m still standing because she (the Project Worker) believed in me. I can’t praise them enough.” 

Helen Perry, Project Unity’s Service Manager, said: Project Unity aims to give care experienced young women a voice, to understand their rights and to believe that they are important and that they have a place in society and their community, It’s about ensuring that their stories are told and that the future for their children recognises the need for change.”

To find out more about Project Unity, email: helen.perry@nyas.net.