Roots of Empathy & Youth Endowment Fund


Dear Directors of Education and Inclusion Leads,

The London Violence Reduction Unit is supporting Roots of Empathy and the Youth Endowment Fund to deliver the Nurturing Empathy Before Transition project. We are recruiting Primary schools from disadvantaged areas of London to participate in an exciting trial of our experiential, award winning, early intervention programme – Roots of Empathy.  This is a fully funded programme and Expressions of Interest are required ASAP. Please share the below information with your schools:

During mental health week, we were honoured with a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to a Roots of Empathy classroom.

"Do you think lots of schools should have a project like this?" Kate Middleton asked the students. When they replied in agreement, she added,

"We do too." (Source: Online People article*)

Roots of Empathy focuses on providing an evidence-based classroom prevention programme that fosters the development of empathy in primary school children. The programme invites community families into classrooms to demonstrate the power of a secure attachment relationship between infant and parent – the first and most powerful model of empathy, and is delivered with the support of a trained volunteer Instructor. Since 2000, independent research on the Roots of Empathy programme has found that children in the Roots of Empathy programme experience an increase in empathy, a decrease in aggressive behaviours including bullying, an increase in prosocial behaviours such as sharing, helping, cooperating, kindness, and an increase in knowledge of infant development.

With support from the Youth Endowment Fund and evaluation from Sheffield Hallam University, Roots of Empathy is delivering The Nurturing Empathy Before Transition (NEBT) project, in order to find out whether the Roots of Empathy programme is effective in raising levels of pro-social behaviour (helping, caring, sharing, including and kindness) and empathy and reducing aggression, including bullying and engagement in risky behaviour, and supporting children as they prepare to make the important and often scary transition to secondary school.

Please have a look at our new two-minute testimonial videos and feel free to share! Roots of Empathy’s IMPACT ON THE WORLD

Not enough children are benefitting from this programme. Your school can help change that.

We urgently need your school’s help to take advantage of a unique and fully-funded research opportunity that explores the effect of this programme on adolescents (Year 5) at high-risk for future violence, particularly knife violence. 

In the ROE programme, a parent and baby (who is two to four months old at the start of the programme) from the community visit a classroom nine times over the course of a school year. A trained ROE Instructor visits with the family to guide children as they observe the relationship between the baby and its parent(s). The Instructor also visits before and after each family visit to reinforce teachings. There are 27 classroom visits in total in a ROE programme.

If your school participates in this critical research project “Nurturing Empathy Before Transition”, your school could expect:

  1. To be randomly assigned to an intervention or control group that is part of a larger educational effort to bring empathy to the future citizens, leaders, and parents of tomorrow.
  2. The intervention group will receive the Roots of Empathy programme in their school in October 2022 for Year 5 students and collect teacher and student questionnaires at the beginning and end of the school year. Your school will be able to use programme equipment and gold standard curriculum in subsequent years.
  3. The control group will receive £400 upon completion of collected teacher and student questionnaires at the beginning and end of the school year.

Please help Roots of Empathy, the Youth Endowment Fund, and Sheffield Hallam University explore how this programme can help children at high-risk for future violence. 

To see what Roots of Empathy looks like in a classroom watch this BBC video: Babies Teaching Kindness

To express an interest in joining the trial contact

Katie Cohen at

Recruitment for September closes end of June 2022

***I am also available to visit your staff teams to talk about future partnership work in Education, parent, community and youth. Please refer to the letter dated on 7 June from Lib Peck, the Director of the VRU and contact me to book a visit/Teams meeting.

Kind regards


Sharon White

Head of Strategy & Partnerships | London’s Violence Reduction Unit 

Mobile 07851478091 Email


Address 169 Union Street, London, SE1 0LL


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