Sarah's lockdown story
“My daughter was three weeks old when we went into lockdown. Overnight all support was taken away. No midwives or health visitors – we were on our own. With my husband working six days a week as a mechanic, I only had my three young children for company. As busy and frantic as that was, it was also very isolating. Suddenly we couldn’t get our usual supermarket delivery. Shops were selling out of essentials and my anxiety returned with a vengeance. In those early days Home-Start dropped off nappies, fruit and vegetables and a meat box from the butcher. Not only that, but they’d stop for a doorstep chat. It was a lifesaver.
Because we’ve spent the last year shielding I felt trapped. I was so lonely and in many ways I felt similar to when I had post-natal depression. But this time the cause of my anxiety wasn’t what was happening in my brain, it was what was happening outside my front door, a door I was increasingly reluctant to walk through.
Without Home-Start I can’t see how I’d have got through this. It makes me tearful to think about it. It’s not just the essentials Home-Start delivered, or the activity packs that helped to entertain the kids, it’s the personal contact they continued to provide throughout lockdown. They’d always check in and ask how I was. It made me feel cared for.
“Home-Start has been a big part of our lives for three years now – ever since my second child was born. Attending Home-Start’s family group had been a big part of my week. I made friends with the mums and it was lovely to see the children play. Sadly I only got to take my baby once before lockdown happened. Thankfully the family groups moved online. It was so good to see everyone’s faces. It really helped to combat the loneliness I was feeling.
This last year has been hard. Home-Start has made such a difference to us during lockdown, and continues to help us as we find our feet outside our front door.”
Become a volunteer
“After we moved I found it hard to get out of the house with the children. Some days we didn’t get out at all” said Katy “We didn’t know anyone at first and we only had one person on hand to help. Sleepless nights were also getting me down. I always had a strict routine with the children, but things weren’t right so I rang NHSDirect.”
Luckily the nurse recognised that Katy was depressed and told her to visit the doctor. “The day I visited the doctor was a turning point,” said Katy. “She was very sympathetic, and gave me contact numbers for support groups including Home-Start. I was assigned a volunteer, Sheila, who would come on a Thursday and we would go out. As well as being hands-on, she was easy to talk to, non-judgemental, knew when to step in to diffuse a crisis, and how to do it without taking control. She also understood my need to have a strict routine. I would always look forward to Thursday because “the cavalry was coming”.
Manager, Annie Ives, said, “When I visited Katy I realised that the very strict routine which Katy had put into place was, in effect, controlling her life. But I was pleased when, almost a year later, Katy had progressed so much that I was able to move volunteer Sheila on to another family.”