The Cambridge Dictionary online defines a volunteer as: A person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it.
But it means so much more to us at Home-Start: committed, kind, reassuring, non-judgemental, creative, generous… the list goes on and on.
Our volunteers have many different reasons for joining the Home-Start family; regardless of the motivation, what unites them is that they find volunteering with us rewarding and fulfilling.
A lifeline of support – Home-Start volunteers provide support to local families when they need it most. Our volunteers all have parenting experience which they can share with families so that they can give the right support at the right time in a way that suits each family individually. Our volunteers do all of this as an integral part of our friendly, supportive Home-Start team.
For some people, being a parent can be overwhelming. Many of the parents that Home-Start supports don’t have an established support network of family and friends to help them. A friendly connection once a week can make such a difference to someone who is struggling – a lifeline, as one of the families described it this year.
Home-Start volunteers provide individual one-to-one home visiting and a range of other targeted support for parents and their children. Over the last year we have had to think creatively about how we offer support to families. We now have a variety of tried and tested services (online and in person) all of which are based around the principle that volunteers offer no judgement, just compassionate, confidential help and support.
At Home-Start we value the skills, expertise, time and commitment volunteers give to families, and recognise how it is important that they feel well supported. The volunteer training course gives volunteers the opportunity to build solid relationships with co-ordinators, who then provide formal and informal support. We believe that the course fully prepares you to feel confident and able to begin supporting families. As well as receiving regular support from a co-ordinator, we offer volunteers ongoing training around a variety of topics and provide plenty of opportunities to meet with other volunteers for mutual support.
Just two hours a week can make such a difference
If you could give as little as two hours a week to support a parent and their children then get in touch today. Our next course for volunteers begins at the end of February 2021 and if you’re a mum, dad, grandparent or carer we would love to hear from you. With your knowledge and experience developed through being a parent or carer, you could be the vital support a family needs to help change their life, and while you’re doing it, it might just change yours!
Still in two minds? Read what one of volunteers said about their role:
“Working for Home-Start truly gives me riches that no pay packet ever could – the fulfilment and privilege of being invited into a family home to encourage and support parents and young children is just wonderful.”