This May Home-Start Lambeth will be offering free training to volunteers with parenting or caring experience who would like to give practical and emotional support to other parents who are struggling.
Many parents feel they are sinking under the pressures of daily life added to the responsibility of raising a child. They may be fighting post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement or the effects of abuse and they are struggling to stay afloat.
This is where a regular visit from a Home-Start volunteer can help to turn things around. Home-Start volunteers are parents themselves and they understand how hard it can be. They work alongside parents in their own homes, to help show them how to cope and make sure they have the skills, confidence and strength they need to nurture their children.
A volunteer will visit a family for around 2 hours a week, drawing on his or her own parenting or grand-parenting experience to help find solutions. This might be as simple as listening to the parent, reading with the children or helping the family go out to the park. They can also offer information and assistance in accessing local support services and in dealing with form filling. There are also family groups, day trips and Christmas parties to bring people and children together.
Volunteers are given a free and professional quality training course to develop their skills and prepare them for the things they may encounter with their family. They make new friends, obtain good experience to add to their CV and have a lot of fun too.
Home-Start began over 40 years ago with the idea that is crucial to help parents and their young children in their own homes. And that the most effective guidance was the support and friendship of another parent — one who has volunteered to help.
In their own words . . .
Children’s essential social, emotional and life skills are developed when they are babies and young children. Those who have stable, loving, consistent, fun childhoods have a greater chance of developing into healthy teenagers and happier adults, with better job prospects, healthy relationships and improved mental and physical health.
We believe that it is crucial to spend time with parents and their young children.
‘To us, it makes more sense to spend £1,500 to support a family with young children for a year – before their problems escalate. The alternative is to to keep on spending £17 billion per year on addressing damaging problems that affect children and young people such as mental health problems, going into care, dropping out of school, unemployment and youth crime. (Source: Early Intervention Foundation).
Home-Start is committed to providing real evidence of the difference their volunteers’ support makes for families. They measure the issues faced by families, and the changes to their situation while they are working with a volunteer.
- 95% of families felt their children’s emotional and physical health and well-being had improved
- 95% of parents felt more involved in their children’s development
- 94% of parents felt less isolated
- 94% of parents said their emotional health had improved
- 95% of parents felt more able to cope with the day-to-day running of the house