Parents helping Parents – Women helping Women
Home-Start Herefordshire is one of over 300 local Home-Starts spread right across the UK; forming one of the UK’s leading family support charities. Working with fragile families in times of distress; making them strong again and preventing crisis.
In an ideal world Home-Start wouldn’t be needed – but for many parents the pressures of family life are simply too much to cope with alone. There are so many reasons for this including, poverty, illness, family breakdowns, isolation, addiction and physical and mental health issues.
And this is where Home-Start steps in….
Alison Jones, Marketing and Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator for the Scheme in Herefordshire spreads the word across this vast rural county about the fabulous service the local charity offers and how parents or adults with parenting skills can get involved.
“The charity is unique, as it recruits and trains volunteers (mainly female, although we would love more men too!) to offer emotional and practical support to families in their own homes once a week. We believe that children need a happy secure childhood and that parents play a key role in giving them a good start in life, helping them to achieve their full potential.”
The Home-Start’s Service is offered to all families with children from 0-19 from all backgrounds, from the high rise bed-sit to the palatial manor house in beautiful surroundings. We at Home-Start are non-judgemental believing that all families deserve help and support if there is a need.
“The majority of our volunteers are women, with a wide range of first hand life experiences. The women who volunteer all have one thing in common they all want to help and give their time to another parent who’s having a hard time. The rewarding feeling that helping others has on a person is invaluable and can help the volunteer’s self esteem as well as that of the family members.
Often mothers who have been helped by a Home-Start volunteer during their lives will decide to return the gesture and train to become a volunteer themselves once their lives are more settled.
Volunteers come from all walks of life, from the young mums who have just got their children off to school, to the mums who have time on their hands now their children have grown or flown the nest.
We at Home-Start Herefordshire have only two really requirement:- you are a parent or have parenting skills and that you undergo a CRB check, that would take place during the training.”
One volunteer speaks for many others when she says:
”I felt privileged to be invited into this mother’s home. I soon felt part of the family giving support to her and her children. The experience of the last 18 months will be with me for ever. It was so amazing to see the changes that occurred. What a rewarding feeling”. One mum supported by Home-Start said: “If it wasn’t for Home-Start, I wouldn’t be here anymore and my children would be in care.”
In the last year, across the UK, nearly 17,000 trained parent volunteers supported almost 36,000 families and 77,000 children.
Kirstie Allsopp- Ambassador for Home-Start UK says:
“I admire greatly the work that Home-Start carries out in supporting families across the UK. Their volunteers do a fantastic job in supporting families with a diverse range of needs, everything from post natal illness and multiple births, through to domestic abuse and poverty. Home-Start stops many families from reaching crisis point, and I am proud to be an ambassador of their work.”