Services for Young People Hertfordshire Services for Young People

The Empathy Project

An innovative and unique volunteering project that enables young people in Hertfordshire to support their peers in hospital settings.

Launched in October 2017, the Empathy Project enables young people in Hertfordshire to act as community navigators, administer social prescriptions and give emotional support to young people attending A&E.

This Services for Young People initiative is delivered in collaboration with the East and North Herts NHS Trust.

Two cartoon images of female medics, with purple and green text underneath which reads 'The Empathy PROJECT Needs YOU!'

Volunteers are given ongoing training to enable them to support their peers, providing emotional support to young people (and their families where appropriate) who are attending the Emergency Department at Lister Hospital, Stevenage.

Empathy Project volunteers aim to provide practical and emotional support to patients while they are in A&E, and ensure they leave with a clearer idea of the range of support offered by Services for Young People as well as other activities and opportunities available to them in their community. 

The project continues to welcome applications from young people aged 16-18. The only criteria is that applicants must be either resident in or attending school/college in Hertfordshire. Please note that all applicants must attend an interview and will undergo a DBS check.

Volunteers work in small groups of up to four and are supervised and chaperoned at all times by an experienced Services for Young People youth worker.

This is a unique volunteering opportunity for young people who will develop a wide range of transferable skills as a result.

If you have any further questions, would like to know more about this project, please email

Want to get involved?

If you are interested in becoming an Empathy Project volunteer please complete this form and we will send you an application form.

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To find out how we look after your personal data please read our Data Protection information.

Read more details about the project and what has been achieved so far here:

Some feedback from young people:

“It has allowed my confidence in my own abilities to develop, allowing me to put my interpersonal skills to use and teaching me vital knowledge of how to deal with mental health and how to share this.”    


“So I’ve gained so much knowledge from the Empathy Project already despite only having done two shifts under my belt. I’ve learnt that sometimes you have to ask uncomfortable questions in order to help people and also just how valuable a mere smile and sticker can be to not only the children but also the parents/carers in a waiting room. But I think above all, I’ve come to realise the importance and power of listening and not always trying to fill silence with my usual go-to small talk. That wasn’t an easy observation for me, a self-proclaimed chatterbox, but the project has definitely opened my eyes up to the concept of listening in order to understand as opposed to listening in order to reply and giving people the time and space to speak if they wish. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in the future! Thanks.”


“The empathy project has developed me as an individual having a particular impact on my confidence which I am grateful for. I have also been able to enhance my communication and listening skills which is essential for my future aspirations. Finally, it has helped solidify my commitment to a career in psychology and made me more determined to pursue this.”


For more information about the Empathy Project please contact us by:


  • E-mail
  • Telephone: 0300 123 7538