Launched in September 2021, the Navigator Programme is a hospital-based intervention service which is focused on helping 10 to 25 year-olds be guided away from violence and criminal activity or harm.
The project offers vital support to young people who attend the adult or paediatric emergency departments or urgent care centres in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Royal Liverpool University Hospital or Aintree University Hospital in a vulnerable state as a result of a violence.
The young person may be a victim or perpetrator of violence, or both.
This programme is delivered by Merseyside Youth Association (MYA), who have been delivering the programme for the past 2 years.
Navigators are now embedded within the hospitals’ emergency departments, wards, and safeguarding teams, and can identify any young person who presents as being involved in violent activity either through direct on-site intervention or through our online referral system for NHS staff.
Navigators build trust and rapport with the young person within the hospital setting, and then arrange follow up meetings in a community setting of their choice, to offer support to the young person. By developing positive relationship, a Navigator can become a trusted adult, who listens to the young person’s voice and guides them in a more positive direction.
This includes signposting and referring into specialist support services to work with the young person on any issues identified, including mental health, housing and education, training, and employment. The aim is to support individuals, as well as release a strain on the hospitals, by reducing the numbers of young people re-presenting to the hospital due to violence.
Once the young people have left the hospital setting, they can attend any of the MYA offices and community centres across Merseyside to meet with the navigators. The programme is designed in this way because these locations are open and accessible spaces for young people to meet a Navigator and feel comfortable to talk about sensitive topics. Meetings can also be held within local community venues, such as youth centres, where a relaxed and accessible environment will be created for the young person to feel safe.
By providing this support, our focus is on supporting young people to tackle the cycle of violence, which in turn reduces the likelihood of them returning to hospital and suffering further injury and trauma.