Home Start celebrate helping over 800 children and 360 families (2018-19)
Home Start East Lancashire held its annual event at Burnley Football Club on 5th Dec 2019 and reflected on their achievements. Over the last year they supported over 360 families and nearly 800 children. Their volunteers have put in a significant amount of time – over 2600 hours in home visits alone.
Home Start is one of the leading family support charities in the UK. The charity has schemes to help families with children from pre-birth to 13 yrs of age and helps deal them with the challenges that they face. They support parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children.
“Because childhood can’t wait.”
“The earliest years make the biggest impact. Home Start make sure that those years count so that no child’s future is limited.”
Volunteers typically visit families once per week, perhaps for 2-3 hours, and offer emotional or practical support. Families can also access support from one of the support groups that that charity offers.
So what do they do and who do they help?
Home-Start offers a unique service, recruiting and training volunteers – who are usually parents themselves – to visit families at home who have at least one child under 13 to offer informal, friendly and confidential support.
The charity often helps with family breakdown, feeling isolated, child or parent’s illness or disability, pregnancy, post-natal or other illness, children’s education, health or development, attending appointments, managing the household and the budget and children’s behaviour. However, support is not purely for these issues, Home Start will help with almost any issue if, ultimately, it will help to give a better start to the children.
Home Start want to help give children the best possible start in life and therefore supports parents as they grow in confidence, strengthen their relationships with their children and widen their links with the local community.
You can be referred to Home Start from various agencies (e.g. family Health Visitor, School Nurse, Social Worker, School, Nursery, Family Support Worker ) or you can self refer. Once you’ve had an initial assessment, they’ll arrange the next steps … quite often you’re assigned a Home Start volunteer, or invited to their various Family Groups or perhaps signposted to other agencies.
The charity has a award winning ‘Community Genetics‘ section. They aim to raise genetic literacy in the community on inherited disorders and are able to visit families in their own homes to provide information/support and access to the Genetic Counselling Service to individuals and families affected by autosomal recessive gene disorder.
Ways to help
Volunteering – If you’re interested in getting involved, and have a few hours to spare each week, then they’re always looking for more volunteers! There are many positions: family support, back office & admin, trustee, marketing, communication etc.
The presentations were very informal and fancy slide shows were ditched in favour of short, but very passionate, speeches from key members, trustees and also from some of the families that had received help. This was seriously emotional in places, but the benefits were clear to see. We were somewhat surprised at how many people attended the event and the extent of their operations. For some reason, we’d seen various Home Start flyers many times … but had seriously underestimated the Charity … we simply hadn’t appreciated the size or scope of the work that was being carried out within our community.
Home Start East Lancashire & their Trustees
In Feb 2019, Home Start Pendle & Ribble Valley merged with Home Start Rossendale, Burnley & Hyndburn and then changed name to Home Start East Lancashire. Most of the trustees are pictured here alongside Andrew Stephenson MP :-
“Our services are provided free to the families we help, but this help costs the charity between £1,200 and £1,500 per year. We are always striving to reduce delivery costs and making our funding go further”
Home Start & Burnley FC in the Community
The annual event was held at Burnley Football Club and, inevitably, their work caught the attention of some of the trustees of Burnley FC in the Community. They were really interested in helping the charity and looked to forge links between the two organisations. So, watch this space!
Photo below: Margaret Foxley, Barry Kilby and Sonya Kilby. Barry Kilby is the Vice Chairman of Burnley Football Club and also Trustee of BFC in the Community. Barry was Chairman of Burnley FC until May 2012 and enjoyed a hugely successful 13-year stint at the helm of the club.
Groups & Services
Groups include: Busy Bees, Kinship Carers, Butterfly friends, Bump Start, Family Groups etc. Services include: Home Start volunteer support, Genetics, Perinatal Mental Health.
How did we get involved?
A Home Start members of staff, known as “Rachael T” (they have so many Rachel’s working there, so that’s their way of identifying each one!), visited one of The Natter Shack sessions in Barrowford. We met, chatted and exchanged details (the fancy term is ‘networking’). The intention was to meet up later and help each other out.
Many weeks later, Rachel T invited us to the Home Start Annual Celebration event. At the event, we only knew a few people there … but we were quickly introduced to staff, volunteers and trustees. Along the way, many valuable community contacts were made. We also caught up with a personal family friend Dr. (Mrs) Malik. Now that ties in additional charities … Building Bridges Pendle and Pendle Womens Forum. As always, the community is complex and heavily interwoven.
Fundraising – Colne Markets
For Christmas 2019, staff and traders at the Colne Markets created a fabulous Santa’s Grotto. They charged £2 per child to see Santa and that included a present. This was all in aid of Home Start East Lancashire. Everyone involved with the Santa’s Grotto clearly put in a lot of time and effort. We know that during the Christmas in Colne event that they had so many visitors that they ran out of presents … but everyone rallied around and more presents appeared.
Over the festive period they raised £475.12 for Home Start. When the Steven Reed (the Colne & Nelson Market Manager) published the information to our local community group on Facebook (Colne Talk), Sheila Webber of Barnfield Construction stepped in and made up the amount to £1,000. That generous offer was a bit of a surprise, but much appreciated by all involved.
On hearing the news, Rachael Tunnacliffe said,
“This money can train 10 more volunteers who can go on to support our families. We have a new prep course starting in February, so if anyone has a spare few hours a week to do home visiting support in our area. Please get in touch. It’s a fantastic, rewarding role.”
This entire scenario is a perfect example of businesses & the community helping each other. It demonstrates the the complex integrated nature of our local community and local economy. Quite clearly when everyone works together like this, great things can be achieved.