Coram reaches over 200,000 children through HALO programme

Published: Monday 4th November 2019

A Coram report out today sets out how its HALO (Help, Advice and Legal Opportunity) programme – an initiative giving skilled young people work opportunities and enabling them in turn to support other young people – has supported thousands of children and young people.

Over the last three years, with funding from the Queen’s Trust, 187 HALO 16-25 year olds from across the Coram group have been recruited into paid and voluntary roles including: helpline volunteers; communications roles to increase our engagement with young people; a trainee solicitor; and co-production participants – young people who use their lived experiences to make a difference to others from similar backgrounds.

The report finds that the HALO initiative helped Coram reach more young people that we would not have otherwise been able to reach. Over the last three years we reached over 10,000 children and young people directly and over 200,000 indirectly.

An example of children and young people reached directly are the children and their families who have been supported through our Child Law Advice Service (CLAS) and Coram Voice helplines. Our volunteers supported approximately 6,000 young people over the three years helping them access information and advice on their legal rights and entitlements.

Young volunteers on the CLAS helpline were law students recruited from Essex University and were accredited for their time, helping them with their future career goals. Their voluntary time meant that the helpline could reach more children and young people at a time when access to free legal advice is scarce.

Young people we supported indirectly include:

  • Pupils reached through our Belonging Toolkit, co-created with Coram Life Education and Young Citizens to increase inclusion in schools;
  • Coram Children Legal Centre’s Lawstuff website, which was made more youth friendly by a Young Editor and has to date reached over 100,000 unique users;
  • Care experienced young people through Coram Voice’s Bright Spots survey. Peer researchers with experience of the care system helped make sure the survey on wellbeing incorporated the views of young people and reached as many young people as possible in their local authority.

Another benefit of the programme was that it helped Coram to integrate the views of young people to help us improve our services. 73% of young people said they felt their perspective added value to the work of Coram.

Coram’s Migrant Children’s Project’s Youth Rights Trainers put the voices, experiences and knowledge of young people directly impacted by the immigration system at the heart of the training. 77% of practitioners said it heightened the topic’s importance by hearing from young people directly affected by the immigration system. It helped make the training more powerful, effective and relevant and improved the practice of those attending the training which in turn benefited the hundreds of young people they support.

Young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds on Coram’s Young Citizens programme co-designed and co-ran training for 52 young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds from across London. They acted as role models to young people who were newer to the country. Hearing from young people who have made a life here and overcome challenges gave them hope and helped them feel more positive about their futures.

Young Citizens told us that young people can often be distrustful of professionals and that hearing from those from similar backgrounds breaks down some of these trust issues because they feel understood and not judged. Hearing from others going through similar challenges also helped young people feel less alone.

HALO Programme Manager, Amy Spiller said:

“One of the aims of the initiative was to create a ‘HALO effect’ across the sector by creating a supply of motivated, skilled young people committed to working in children’s rights. At the end of the project 90% of young people said they were likely to work or volunteer in the children’s rights sector in the future. They also felt equipped with the skills needed to go onto sector roles.

 

HALO will continue with diversified funding, embedding the work we are already doing and expanding into new areas so that we continue to support HALO young people and the beneficiaries they reach for years to come.”

Read the Evaluation Report