Perthyn: Responding to Covid-19

A process evaluation of Perthyn: An online peer leader project in Wales for those seeking sanctuary.

Executive Summary

The UK received 29,456 asylum applications in 2020 (Government, 2020a). Each of these represents an individual life and with that life, like ours, comes a story and a journey.

The stories of people’s lives are fascinating, sometimes harrowing, sometimes very sad and sometimes jubilant and triumphant. Rarely do we harness these stories towards encouraging others and if we do, we look at the impact on others rather than the storyteller themselves.

The aim of this evaluation was to experientially examine the process of people seeking sanctuary becoming peer leaders through the lens of their story using a ‘hope’ theory (Burns, 2020).

The evidence suggests that validating and utilising the lived experience of a person seeking sanctuary, brings hope to others, how building effective rapport is vital, how ‘peer-ness’ can be a tool in keeping individuals strong and finally how a modelled training approach (MTA) works. 

“I put hope in my mind … I still have hope that my life will change. I always hope the best for my life.” Peer leader
“I am going to go back to my early age … my family were … displaced … we had to flee our home … [We were] dependent on outside organisations … what it proved is that early as a child, you remember who gave you that toy [and] food … I still remember their faces. What I got from that, was an urgency to help others so even after years [later] now, I have the possibility of helping others.” Project staff seeking sanctuary.


The overall aim of this process evaluation is:

  • to explore the experiential process of people seeking sanctuary becoming peer leaders using a ‘hope’ theory. A process evaluation is: “… a study which aims to understand the functioning of an intervention, by examining implementation, mechanisms of impact and contextual factors.” UK Medical Research Council, 2015.

Process evaluations identify the procedures undertaken, the decisions made in developing a programme and how they work. In turn, this helps to deliver more effective programmes running alongside other intervention projects so that the process of generating outcomes is examined. In addition to documenting the programme’s development and operation through this process, process evaluations can also assess reasons for successful or unsuccessful performance sometimes known as the ‘active ingredients.’

This can allow for replication or adjustment so it can succeed again or in some cases, abandon a project altogether (Government, 2020b). In 2015, the Medical Research Council (MRC) released guidance for process evaluations based around some core process themes: Context, Description of the Peer Leader process, Methods and Results/Mechanisms of Impact. Adapting the names of the core theme, this process evaluation will loosely follow the MRC framework.

Download the MHF Process Evaluation for Perthyn Phase 2 (PDF)