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Independent Local Evaluation of HeadStart Hull - Final Report

White, Jacquie; Hardy, Sheila; Colley, Sarah


Sheila Hardy

Sarah Colley


White, J., Hardy, S., & Colley, S. (2021). Independent Local Evaluation of HeadStart Hull - Final Report. Hull City Council

Report Type Project Report
Publication Date 2021-08
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2021
Publisher University of Hull
Pages 132
Keywords Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing, Resilience, Service Evaluation
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Additional Information HeadStart is a five-year national strategic programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund which aims to take an asset-based approach to improving the mental health of young people aged 10-16 years in England. The University of Hull was commissioned to carry out an independent local evaluation of HeadStart Hull (one of six programmes across the country) delivered by Hull City Council between August 2016 until October 2020.

Methods for this service evaluation included an appraisal of published literature, analysis of (secondary) data provided by HeadStart Hull and analysis of (primary) data collected by the Independent Evaluation Team at the University using a ‘feedback’ website and online surveys, examination of the minutes of strategic and operational meetings, an examination of information and resources provided by HeadStart Hull for children and young people and interviews with service coordinators and managers. Ethical approval was granted by the University of Hull Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee (REF FHS53).

Hull is the fourth most deprived local authority in England. The health and wellbeing of children in Kingston upon Hull is worse than the rest of the country. There are indications that the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the inequality in the city.

The National Lottery objectives for this project were to have socially significant improvements in the mental wellbeing of children at risk, reduction in the onset of diagnosable mental health disorders, improved engagement in school and improved academic attainment, reduced engagement in risky behaviours (e.g., substance misuse, criminality & teenage pregnancy), and improved employability. In Hull, the only improvement in any of these areas that we observed was a small reduction in conception in teenagers under 16 years and a lower rate of absenteeism in special schools.

HeadStart Hull organisers set their own goals for the programme. They have been successful in meeting some of the most important ones for children and young people as the data shows nearly half of those taking part feel more able to discuss feelings and have improved self-esteem and confidence. However, as referrals to CAMHS increased, they are still likely to experience an emotional crisis. Goals for parents were for them to support their child confidently and appropriately with emotional health and wellbeing. This has partly been met as parents still require ongoing support. Some of the workers feel knowledgeable and confident about young people’s emotional health and resilience but others have not been able to access training or have found that it did not prepare them. Some of the workers we spoke to think the service is effective and enables young people to be experts, but gaps have been identified. Staff have mixed feelings on how well HeadStart Hull is managed. Learning is still taking place and adjustments to services are ongoing.


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