Family Charity Sets Up in the Local Area

Home Start looking for volunteers and holding 'taster workshop'

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A charity that specialises in support for families is setting up in the local area and looking for volunteers.

Home-Start UK is an independent charity offering practical support, friendship and guidance by providing a volunteer outreach service to families in need. They complement existing professionals, such as health visitors and social workers. Their newly OCN-accredited training programme allows anyone with a parental experience, whether parent, grandparent - or those with extended family - to train up as a Home-Start volunteer.

The difference with Home-Start is that volunteers have an understanding and experience which is second-to-none. Last year alone, its 345 community based volunteers supported 70,000 children in situations as varied as isolation, single parenthood, domestic violence, multiple births or post-natal depression. Other parents simply needed a helping hand. The only criteria they ask for is that one child in your family is under five - however, they offer support to all siblings. And it is cost effective - on average the charity needs around £1,000 to support a family for one year!

ITV News Presenter, Andrea Catherwood, hosted a Big Tea Party for the charity, just before the birth of her twins. “The charity is about parents helping other parents – it’s a simple idea that really works for people from all walks of life,” she said.

Support is individually tailored to the families' needs and in simple practical ways can build parent's confidence so that they can make positive choices. Volunteers act as bridges for families to access new opportunities, including appropriate support services, from benefits advice, to housing or health. On average, 65% of their families are socially excluded or isolated at home and feel the benefits of a consistent relationship with a volunteer who can share the load.

They are in the process of setting up a Home-Start Wandsworth, to work across 12 Extended Schools in the West Hill area. If you're a family in need, know about being a parent and are interested in volunteering you can attend a Family Taster Workshop at Sheringdale School in Southfields on 23rd May between 10am and 12 noon. Creche facilities and coffee and cake will be included.

This will be run by a former Home-Start scheme manager and FE trainer, and offers you an opportunity to find out about how the charity can benefit families and children in the area. For more details or to book contact Emma Richards on 0207 831 7023 or

The charity also is looking Management Committee Members and Trustees also required plus sponsorship and support from local businesses would also be very much appreciated

April 6, 2007