We are here for parents and families. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. We support parents to grow in confidence, strengthen their relationship with their children, and widen their links with the local community.
We contact families regularly to offer emotional and practical support, enhance wellbeing, connect effectively with other services, and build up their ability to cope independently.
During covid-19, our support is primarily offered by telephone/video calls and online groups. Outdoor visits may be offered to families when government regulations allow. Our usual home-visiting service and indoor group activities are temporarily suspended due to social distancing rules.
We have three main services:
“My volunteer has been an amazing friend who has been a big part of our lives. She has been my sunshine on many dark days.”
Our network of over 70 volunteers call or visit families at least once a week. They offer impartial and non-judgemental listening and befriending to our families. They may attend appointments, mentor, help introduce routines, help to access local services. But, above all they listen and reassure families. Support is tailored to each family and aims to empower families to cope with their difficulties.
“Before my volunteer, I wanted to stay in bed and cry. She has helped me so much.”
Our volunteers also support mums through pregnancy, birth and beyond. Our volunteers listen to any concerns and help reassure mothers who may be feeling anxious about their pregnancy, birth or looking after their child. They provide practical support like help with budgeting and preparing for baby’s arrival. Our volunteers can help arrange specialist support and signpost to local services. We ensure that our volunteers receive training in perinatal issues so that they are equipped to offer advice and support where needed.
Our volunteers’ calls and visits support the whole family, helping ensure the best possible start for mum and baby.
We host weekly meet-ups, enabling our families to come together, chat and relax in a safe environment. They give parents an opportunity to try new things and make friends.
Our families tell us that our warm and welcoming group activities have helped them feel less isolated, more confident around new people and better able to cope.
“The thought of going out on my own was overwhelming, but thanks to my volunteer, I was able to leave the house for the first time in a long time! It was so good to have adult conversations and meet with other mums. The group were really welcoming, and I felt like I was understood. They have really helped me get my confidence.”
As well as our regular meet-ups we also host topic-focused sessions, which give our parents the chance to build their skills and confidence.
“I’ve enjoyed the different classes available, I have attended sessions on baby massage, cooking and sewing.”
Life for Home-Start families is often especially hard in the school holidays, so we usually organise popular day trips to places like Kew Gardens, Hobbledown Farm and West Wittering. Our trips not only give parents and children alike a fun and adventurous day out of London but firm friendships are often formed, enabling families to support each other in the future. N.B. Trips and indoor group activities are currently on hold due to covid-19, but we aim to reintroduce holiday activities for families when government guidelines allow.