Being a parent isn’t always easy. Home-Start offers support, friendship and practical help to families, with at least one child under five, living in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow.
Who can Home-Start help?
If you are a Mum, Dad or carer with a child under five, and are finding things tough at the moment, you can ask for free help.
Our volunteers help parents going through difficult times including:
- Loneliness and isolation
- Mental health issues
- Illness, disability or special needs
- Postnatal depression
- Coping with twins, triplets or several pre-school children
- Lone parenting
- First-time parenthood or new babies
- Relationship difficulties
- Children’s behavioural problems
- Helping children to be ‘school-ready’
“With Home-Start’s help I got through a terrible time, and now my home is full of hope and laughter.”
What do the volunteers do?
A Home-Start volunteer will visit you regularly (usually once a week for a couple of hours) and offer friendly support through difficult times for as long as you need help. They can give you reassurance that you are not alone as well as a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. You might need an extra pair of hands to help you cope with everyday situations or even practical help with activities like playing or story time.
“Knowing she would be visiting got me through those early weeks. She helped me forget about all my worries and anxieties for a while which meant I could put them in perspective.”
Who are the volunteers?
Home-Start volunteers are people from different backgrounds and vary in age, but all have parenting experience. They will visit you in your own home and accept you as you are. All volunteers are carefully selected for their friendliness, practical approach and understanding. They have also all attended our Volunteer Preparation Course, supplied two references and passed an Enhanced Criminal Record Bureau check. Some of our volunteers have previously been helped by Home-Start themselves.
What else does Home-Start do?
Home-Start Richmond also runs two invitation-only Family Groups in Mortlake and Hampton weekly in term time. Places are limited and must be pre-arranged. If you want to find out more, talk to us or your health professional (see ‘What next?’ below).
For parents, the Family Groups offer:-
- An opportunity to develop friendships outside the family.
- Access to information on a wide variety of topics, including parenting skills, healthy eating, debt management, learning opportunities and dealing with stress.
- Time to discuss concerns with other group members and staff.
- An opportunity to play with their children in a well equipped and safe setting.
For children, the Family Groups offer:-
- A selection of activities which may include painting, drawing, puzzles, craft construction, small world toys, baby floor toys, outside play equipment, musical activities, story time, role play.
- All activities are child centred and focus on developing each child physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.
- Parents are encouraged to get involved in playing with their children.
Will anyone else find out?
Home-Start support is confidential. Personal information about you and your family is not disclosed to anyone outside Home-Start without your consent, except where there is a concern about the safety or welfare of a child.
What if I change my mind?
You choose whether or not to accept Home-Start support and can change your mind at any time. A volunteer will only visit on your invitation.
“It felt hard to ask for help at first but once the volunteer started coming to visit, I wished I’d done it years ago.”
If you are a family with at least one child under five you can ask for help.
To find out if Home-Start Richmond can help, you can:
- Contact us directly
- Talk to your Health Visitor, Midwife or GP
- Ask your Social Worker to refer you
- Ask a friend or family member to contact us for you
You can download a Referral Form here.
Home-Start Richmond is an Equal Opportunities organisation and is positively committed to oppose all direct and indirect discrimination in the organisation against people on the grounds of ethnic origin, religion, culture, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age and family status.