Could you be our Trustee?

Home-Start Richmond supports families with young children by recruiting and training volunteers to provide practical help and emotional support for families in their homes.

This is an exciting opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees for a successful voluntary organisation and make a real difference to the lives of families and children. It offers the chance to participate in the local community in a meaningful and rewarding way for personal and career development.

We enjoy the services of a vibrant and committed Board of Trustees with wide-ranging skill sets. Due to recent geographical expansion (we now serve the areas of Kingston and Hounslow boroughs) and to ensure that our Board continues to meet the needs of our expanding operations, we wish to enlarge and strengthen our Board primarily in the areas of Digital Technology and Fundraising.

The commitment is attendance at board meetings which take place every six weeks at Parkway House in Sheen in the evening. Our local network is very important to us and in order to play a full and rewarding part in Home-Start Richmond, trustee presence at local events and fundraising initiatives is expected. This is not onerous however and is at the trustee’s own discretion.

In addition, trustees typically support the staff on an ad hoc basis, within their own particular area of expertise.

The trustee role is an unpaid one but we can meet reasonable expenses associated with attending Board meetings or other events.

If you think that you have relevant skills and would relish the chance to be part of a successful and dynamic local enterprise, please apply for an information pack in the first instance to:

Louise Kerr, Chair of Trustees, Home-Start Richmond upon Thames

recruitment@homestart-richmond.org.uk

 

 

How Home-Start helped our family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture shows Home-Start volunteer Sue playing with Naneh’s daughter. Her late son’s photo is on the mantlepiece.

We recently heard from a mum we supported a few years ago, expressing gratitude for our support during a very difficult time for the family. Many thanks to Naneh for offering to share her story and experience of Home-Start:

Home-Start: Our Story

When tragedy struck our family, we were expecting our second child. Our first-born, a four-year-old treasure with an angelic face, died in his sleep just two months shy of meeting his sister.

The first year was a fog, but we had my mum’s help with caring for a new baby against the background of loss. Then, my mother, who lives abroad, went back, and it dawned on me that, without many friends and family nearby, a 1:1 ratio is nothing when what you have is an energetic toddler and what you are is energy-sapped and grief-stricken.

How Home-Start helped

I came across Home-Start’s details and, since every little helps, I contacted them. Home-Start Richmond were speedy, and we had an initial visit with a view to be assigned someone suitable to our situation.

That someone suitable was a mature lady, a grandmother and former pre-school teacher, as well as an author, but she told us to call her Sue. She came at a set time every week and was tactful, attentive and calm. She was with us for around a year, and we still remember her with fondness and gratitude.

The great thing about it was, as a Home-Start volunteer, she was impartial, free, and there for a specific purpose, so you don’t have the usual guilt about taking advantage of friends or over-burdening family. Sometimes we had conversations, which distracted me or opened a window on the outside world that I’d shut away from, and sometimes I would leave her with my 18-month-old and take to my room. I appreciated the fact that there was someone who went at my little one’s pace, who sat through her pressing random buttons on toys and taught her nursery rhymes.

A lot of people in acute difficulty find that it’s sometimes the trivial things, such as doing your nails, that can anchor you and give you a sense of achievement in an otherwise directionless day. Other times, it could be the simple act of washing-up whilst listening to the radio.

How our volunteer helped me and my daughter

Sue understood that and was there to take over the play with our daughter whilst I cleared and calmed my head. Her input into my daughter’s early years cannot be quantified, as her help to us as a family. Beyond the simple fact of having regular chunks of time thanks to a Home-Start volunteer, I learnt a lot from Sue. She calmly got me to question my self-doubt and self-imposed pressure and reassured me in a lot of subtle ways that we were OK, and that in the circumstances we were doing well enough.

I believe in the ethos of Home-Start – it’s about helping adults through spending time with children. When in unusually stressful circumstances, you’ll be better able to cope with your daily routine, given the chance to re-charge. And it’s fabulous to know that your child’s had stimulation and attention whilst you’ve caught up with things.

Naneh

If you know anyone who needs help, or if you would like to offer support, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8487 8500 or info@homestart-richmond.org.uk

 

Recruiting for April Volunteer Course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have some free time after the Easter holidays, and you are a parent or grandparent, you could help other local families with pre-school children. Home-Start is offering a free course to train you to be a home-visiting volunteer, supporting families with difficulties such as post-natal illness, bereavement or disability, living in the boroughs of Richmond or Kingston.

We run three volunteer preparation courses per year: September-November (on a Tuesday), January-March (on a Wednesday) and April-June (on a Thursday). The courses run either in Kingston or East Sheen.

The next course will run in East Sheen between 10am-2.30pm, every Thursday for 7 weeks from 27th April until the 15th June (not half-term). After the course, you would visit a family for 2-3 hours a week at a time that suits you.

For more information, please contact Angie Ahmed on 020 8487 8500 info@homestart-richmond.org.uk

The Big Volunteer Thank You

We welcomed a number of our volunteers and trustees to our Volunteer Thank You Breakfast in early February at the Pitcher and Piano.  Julie Peasgood, our Ambassador, presented service certificates to Carole, Catherine, Kandy, Liz, Louise, Rebecca and Veronica who have been with us for 5 years, and to Carol, Jean and Ros who have been with us for an incredible 10 years!

Thanks to everyone who came to join us.

A Book and A Brew – Home-Start Book Swap Parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are looking for people to host a Home-Start Book Swap party in March.

  • Invite your friends for coffee/drinks
  • Ask them to bring 1 or 2 books to swap
  • Raise awareness and funds for Home-Start

We have put together a party kit with template invitations, Home-Start leaflets, hosting guidelines and a small collection box which you can request from Angie in the office.

Please feel free to use these as suits your needs. E.g. If you prefer to run an evening event, someone suggested calling it ‘Prosecco and Paperbacks’?  Or you may wish to link it with World Book Day on Thursday 2 March? It’s up to you. You could visit http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/event-planning/how-to-host/how-to-host-book-swap1.htm for more inspiration

Next steps

If you would like to host a Home-Start Book Swap, please let Angie Ahmed know and she can send you a party pack. We envisage that the Book Swap parties will take place in March, but it is up to you.

Any questions, please speak with Angie angie@homestart-richmond.org.uk or 020 8487 8500. Many thanks!

 

Snowflake Appeal – Sarah’s Story

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When families are struggling it is their children who can suffer the most. Last year we helped hundreds of children and their parents.

You can support us here: http://bit.ly/2guwh35

Home-Start was there for Sarah* and her children when they faced tragedy. Sarah suffered with depression after the birth of her second daughter and was attending a Home-Start family support group to help her to cope.

But only a few months later, just before Christmas, Sarah was stunned to hear her father was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Sarah was an only child and had lost her own mother when she was just a baby. Growing up, her father had been everything to her and now Sarah faced losing the only parent she had ever known.

This had a profound effect on Sarah’s mental health and, with the demands of constant visits to hospital, meant that she was no longer able to attend the Home-Start family group that was helping her so much.

Sadly, in February, only 10 weeks after diagnosis, Sarah’s father passed away.

Sarah was left devastated by this sudden and traumatic loss. After a few months of trying to cope alone with her grief and feelings of isolation, Sarah knew she needed help. She contacted her local Home-Start and asked if they could support her again. Sarah was welcomed back to the family group with open arms and being around other mums helped her to start the healing process.

“I knew for my own sanity I had to be around people who could give me the support I needed. Being able to talk, cry and laugh helped me come to terms with what had happened and helped me start to heal. My youngest child also had to be with other children and learn to socialise and play. The support of the group and being able to talk through my problems helped me deal with everything much better”.

Many families across the borough are dealing with situations like Sarah’s on a daily basis. The support they receive from Home-Start is vital and helps them to cope with issues as diverse as bereavement, depression, isolation, social exclusion, poor housing and the pressures of being a parent.

To enable us to continue providing this critical and much needed support we need your help.

If you can, please support our Snowflake Appeal here http://bit.ly/2guwh35.

All donations, however large or small, go a long way to ensuring that Home-Start can carry on supporting the families that turn to us for help. Thank you.

*(Names in this story have been changed to protect the family. Image is posed by models.)