Home-Start Winchester & Districts

There for parents when they need us most, because childhood can't wait

Getting Support

Volunteer with family

Who we help

Home-Start families may be struggling with many issues. These can include: low income, low self-esteem, relationship breakdown, unsuitable housing, family illness or they may need support with parenting skills. Many of our parents find the responsibilities of being a parent extremely hard. Others may struggle with poor mental health or post natal depression and find it difficult to leave the house. Some of our parents are caring for a partner or child with a serious mental or physical illness.

When we start to support a family, their individual needs are discussed with them and assessed carefully. A  suitable volunteer is matched with them, taking into account life experiences, skills and personality. It is important that the parent and the Home-Start volunteer build a relationship and that they enjoy their time together.

The volunteers need to be empathetic and non-judgmental. We do not set time limits, however, most  support lasts from six months to a year. We aim to:

  • empower parents to grow in confidence
  • begin to overcome some of their difficulties
  • feel happier in themselves and their parenting role


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.