Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Home Start help for families

I have often talked about the wonderful army of volunteers in West Sussex. The other day I met with such a group at the Chichester Home Start office.

I attended the launch of Home Start in Chichester four years ago, so I was really interested to hear how they were getting on.

Home Start is a charity which provides trained volunteers to visit families with young children and help build their confidence and independence. Volunteers are matched with a family to provide on-going support.

The role is varied and very much depends on the needs of the family. A volunteer usually visits once a week for half a day, although travelling and preparation means this can often take a full day.

The support given can vary, one volunteer described how she accompanied a mother with a sick child to visit a paediatrician. The mother was very nervous about the visit but found confidence with the volunteer’s support. Another spoke about helping a young family living in cramped accommodation and encouraging them to get out and about.

Several volunteers mentioned that often the parent, because of their situation, feels very isolated, so when they visit the parent really welcomes the opportunity to talk to someone who is independent and non-judgemental.

It was a fascinating morning listening to the volunteers, all of different ages and life experiences, who talked so passionately and enthusiastically about their work. Equally impressive was that all of them were undertaking other voluntary work as well! What amazing people.

Families can refer themselves to Home Start, or be referred by doctors, nurses, social workers, or friends. Having an independent friendly person to help parents is so useful, and this can often prevent small scale problems escalating into much bigger ones.

The County Council is committed to supporting and helping families who are going through difficult times. The support from organisations such as Home Start is vital in helping these families to support themselves in the future.

Home Start has local offices covering all of West Sussex in Arun; Chichester and District; Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex; and Worthing and Adur. To find out more visit their website at www.home-start.org.uk.

Best wishes,

No comments:

Post a Comment