Home-Start Winchester and Districts
The leading family support charity
Where does out funding come from?
Our funding comes from a mixture of fund-raising activities, charitable foundations, commissioning and grants. Eight per cent of our funding comes from local authority sources including a grant from Winchester City Council. Irrespective of the source of our funds, we deliver our services using the proven Home-Start approach.
Through Budget pressures our local authority funding has been reduced and our challenge now is to raise funds from new sources to maintain our current services and to expand our services to meet a growing need.
Achievements this year:
What we did
• 672 home visits were made by volunteers
• 269 home visits were made by co-ordinators and staff
• 1094 volunteer home visiting hours
• 301 co-ordinator and staff home visiting hours
• 49 families were supported through home visits alone
• 27 further families attended the Family Groups only
• 151 children have been supported overall
• 33 families became confident enough to no longer require regular support
Some of our outcomes
• 17 families where a parent returned to work either full or part-time
• 3 families where mum returned to education
• 2 families where a parent has chosen to volunteer with an organisation
of her choice
• 6 actively searching for work
• 15 families where we constructively helped with finding and equipping
new housing and finding nurseries or schools in the new area
Who we help
Home-Start families may be struggling with many issues, sometimes compounded by low income, low self-esteem, family illness or poor education and skills. Many of our parents are very young and find the responsibilities of being a parent extremely hard. Others may suffer from post natal depression and are feeling so low and unsure of themselves they cannot face going out of their homes. Some have been abused and have grown up in care, while others may have brought up their siblings because a parent was ill. Some of our parents are caring for a partner or child with a serious mental or physical illness.
When we are at first in contact with Home-Start parents it is clear that some of them have had a difficult start in life and have lacked role models to help them develop. Sometimes they have suffered appalling bad luck. In many cases they don’t enjoy their children; they want to make things better but don’t know how.
When we start to support a family, their individual needs are assessed carefully and a suitable volunteer matched with them, often according to life experiences, skills and personality. It is important that the parent and the Home-Start volunteer bond and that they enjoy their time together.
The volunteers need to be empathetic and non-judgmental. We are aware that little will be achieved if you talk at someone, instead of to them. We do not set time limits; a volunteer may make regular visits to a family for as long as two or three years. Most however, need support for nine months to a year. What we really hope to see is that parents grow in confidence, begin to overcome some of their difficulties, feel happier in themselves and their parenting role and no longer need our support. Having someone who cares about you is an extraordinarily powerful antidote to loneliness and despair.
Home-Start volunteers, having had their own experiences of coping with parenthood are well placed to gently support those in need. They will always ‘go the extra mile’ for their families with infinite patience and goodwill. They may take the children out to the park together, go to the Citizens Advice Bureau for financial advice, visit the Housing office together, attend hospital appointments, go out in the car to explore new places or simply listen to a mum who needs to unburden over a cup of tea. They aim to work alongside parents, working with them, not for them. Many volunteers experienced times when they felt equally alone and hopeless as a young parent, so they understand perfectly the parents they support.