Home-Start helps families with young children deal with whatever life throws at them. We support parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children. The benefits of our support include improved health and well-being and better family relationships.
Our volunteers visit the family’s home for a couple of hours every week. They tailor-make their support to the needs of the parents and children. Volunteers are very committed and will keep visiting until the parents feel they can stand on their own two feet. Parents and volunteers often develop a deeply trusting relationship which can lead to powerful change within the family.
A selection of testimonials from families and volunteers.
"I have been a Home-Start volunteer for nearly 9 years, 3 of which I was also a Trustee. In that time I have supported 7 families and am about to move on to my 8th. I have encountered families with various special needs to deal with, including ADHD and Autism. One mum previously had 2 children taken into care and was in danger of losing a 3rd when HSKA became involved. Home-Start helped the mum to retain custody of the child which was a real success story. Whilst appreciating that we cannot always change people’s lives. Home-Start is there at a critical time to offer support in whichever form that may take. When I first started, volunteers stayed with a family for many years and we only supported families with children under the age of 5. Now a much shorter period of support is recommended, sometimes for only 6 weeks. In this way a greater number of families can be supported during times in which they have the greatest need. In addition families with children up to the age of 11 are now supported. The ongoing training volunteers receive is always very useful in keeping up to date and to act as a reminder of safety and security issues. There are also many social opportunities to meet other volunteers throughout the year. This is also very helpful as there is the opportunity of sharing our experiences. Home-Start volunteering is a very rewarding and worthwhile experience. The ongoing support of Nikki and her colleagues is invaluable. I hope to be able to make it to 10 years as a volunteer and beyond."
"I have now been a volunteer for Home-Start for 11 years and for 8 of those years I have been a Trustee as well representing the volunteers on the Trustee Board. Home-Start has evolved over those years but our key aim is still the same, to support families with young children in their own homes. I have found it a privilege to be invited into homes in Kettering, to get to know a family and to help and support them through the many challenges they have. Measuring success is difficult but it has been shown time and time again that intervention by Home-Start has kept some families together as a unit. We do not volunteer for the thanks that we get, but it is rewarding when a family verbalises their appreciation for what we have done. I still enjoy volunteering for Home-Start; each family I have supported has given me new challenges. You never know what you will face when you ring that doorbell. Just put your ‘Home-Start’ face on and get stuck in!!"
"It seems amazing that I have now been a volunteer for Home-Start for nearly 4 years. During that time I have had the privilege of going into 4 very different families with very different sets of challenges and needs. They say that variety is the spice of life and this means that there has never been a dull moment! Each week one can never be quite sure what is going to face you as that front door is opened, but whatever it is it needs to be dealt with in a compassionate and non-judgemental way. People often ask me what a volunteer actually does. That can be quite hard a question because the job description evolves as a relationship with a family is built up. Initially you may just be a listening ear, or someone to play with the children, but as trust and confidence builds you may find yourself helping to sort out the family finances, advising on a child's behaviour or making suggestions regarding the adult's relationship. It is not a job to do if you are looking for 'thanks'. However it is amazing how a few odd words will make you feel valued and needed. "Goodness, am I pleased to see you"; "So pleased you were able to come today"; "Everything will be ok now you are here". So there is job satisfaction, especially when you leave a family and can look back on the progress that they have made in the time that you have been supporting them. It gives a good feeling to know that you may have helped in some small way."
"Our family is one of the fortunate families in the area to have a home start volunteer. Due to having a couple of stressful years with illness, the start of a new business and 2 very active children we were beginning to feel the strain. The children required a lot of time and attention, which at times was getting difficult. The introduction of Bea our volunteer was both a relief and the start of building a relationship with someone who could offer the chance of a little bit of respite. The children are now used to Bea and look forward to her visits. To many, this may appear only a small helping hand in our families life, but to me and my family it is a welcoming relief to see Bea at the door!"
"Christine helps because without her I wouldn't be able to go swimming with my girls, I would get stressed and flustered, Christine is my calming voice. If I didn't know Christine was coming round some days I wouldn't bother going out, but knowing she's coming round gives me a reason to get ready and I'm getting better going out and getting ready with the girls. I couldn't ask for a better friend than Christine and am looking forward to August because I am going to take all 5 of my girls to the zoo with Home-Start and Christine. I wouldn't be able to afford to do something like this with all the girls and we are all looking forward to going. We couldn't go last year because I was heavily pregnant and not well at all to go on the trips. I'm really lucky to have Christine, all 5 of my kids love her to bits and she's there for me, which is nice to know. I think Home-Start is brilliant!"
"Home-Start have been a real blessing to our family, we have received on going support for a little while now. We have had two fantastic volunteers who were so friendly and caring, We have had our ups and downs throughout the past year and could not have asked for any more from Home-Start. Our children really enjoyed the summer trip to Hamerton Zoo that Home-Start organised for all the families. The boys have never had the chance to visit a zoo before so they really enjoyed themselves. So thank you so much Home-Start for all your support."
"Since I have had regular visits from one of the team I have now built up confidence to go out on my own more. Having someone you trust like my lady has made a big difference as I can ask things I would usually not ask and she helps me by just talking through things and at times she has given me some very good and helpful advice."