Home-Start Butser has been recruiting and training volunteers in East Hampshire to befriend and support families with children under five for the past 19 years. They have a team of 60 volunteers supporting on average 80 families a year.
Nicola Winter, Scheme Manager says:
“The old adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, is proven time and again through the work of our volunteers. They provide parents the support they need to give their children vital love and care. Our volunteers are parents; they understand how hard it can be. They work with families in their own homes, help them cope with the stresses and strains of life and make sure they have the skills, confidence and strength to nurture their children.
After their training the volunteers are equipped to be a constant and guiding presence in lives of families with young children who are going through a critical time. The support they provide is as unique as each family they help. During visits of at least two hours a week they provide both practical and emotional support to parents and children, helping them face illness and crises; avoid isolation and fear; and giving them hope.
They commit to being there for the long term, and they are successful at developing a trusting and confidential relationship – from which great changes can be made. Often described as ‘gold dust’ by the families, the volunteers live locally and have parenting experience. This gives them the experience and understanding to talk to another parent who is struggling.
The people whose lives they have changed express it better than anyone.
“With Home-Start’s help I got through a terrible time, and now my house is full of hope and laughter.
“Knowing that someone cares is wonderful. The feeling of loneliness and despair disappears entirely.
“They really listened and understood the stresses we’ve been feeling and showed enormous empathy. Home-Start Butser really has improved our family’s lives.
Our next Preparation Course for new volunteers will start on 30 January, – 11 x 3 hour sessions. Anyone with parenting experience is welcome.
For further information please contact Nicola Winter on 01730 233 755 firstname.lastname@example.org. www.homestart-butser.org.uk