“It’s a lonely life sometimes and I could relate to that. I remembered being a young divorced parent with two small children and those feelings came flooding back to me. I decided there and then to phone up Home-Start and find out more about becoming a volunteer.
I was a bit scared at the thought of a 10 week training course and immediately worried that there would be written exams. But Annie and Julie reassured me that my experiences and the challenges that I’d faced in my own life would make me a good volunteer – plus there would be no written exam that I’d have to take! I decided to go for it!
I really enjoyed the course, the sandwiches were great and I made friends with the others on the course. We all found that we had similar reasons for wanting to help other parents – remembering those difficult days when our own children were little, having some time now to help, and wanting to offer a helping hand or a listening ear.
I found being a volunteer very rewarding and the mums and kids I met were very grateful for the extra help. The mums told me that knowing someone was visiting each week made such a big difference to how they were coping with life. The children were always really pleased to see me coming down the path too and that give you a great feeling too.
So, if anyone is sitting thinking I will phone Home-Start tomorrow, please phone NOW. You can make a difference in someone else’s life.”
Become a volunteer
“I started visiting Katy when Nathan was almost 4 and Chloe was 6 months old. At first we had a short trip out to the shops. Mum and I would manage to have a chat and I would join in Nathan’s games or push the buggy so Mum could have time with him. We would get back home in time for Chloe’s feed and I would read or play games with Nathan.
After a few weeks Katy suggested a trip to the Play Barn as she had been by herself, it was good to see her confidence improving. We next managed a short visit to the Family Group, Nathan enjoyed playing, Chloe enjoyed watching and Katy joined the course with the other mums. At first we had to leave early to get home in time for Chloe’s feed, gradually we stayed a little longer each week until we took Chloe’s food with us and I fed her while Katy and Nathan could enjoy a longer stay at the Family Group.
Katy was now confident enough to go to the Family Group by herself so I changed my visiting day and we would have a trip to the library, Play Barn or park. It was good to watch the children develop and grow, Nathan was now ready for school and Chloe was taking a few steps and would join in the games when we got home. I was impressed when Katy said she was starting her own business and pleased that she has been able to do it.”
“My family had self-referred to Home-Start and Mum had no qualms about letting me help with the feeding and cuddling of her twin babies while she managed to grab a shower in peace!
One of the twins suffered from colic and consequently Mum was unable to spend as much time with the other baby as she would have liked. Hopefully I helped there as well. Soon we moved on to shopping, me pushing the pram so Mum could concentrate on the business in hand. Now, four months later Mum is able to take an exercise class while I mind the babies.
I really love visiting the twins and seeing how they grow and change each week. I have been invited to the christening which I’m sure I shall enjoy immensely.
It is a great privilege to be a Home-Start volunteer, to be accepted into someone’s home as a friend, and I know the hardest part of the work is when we have to say goodbye to our families and move on.”