Home-Start Winchester and Districts

The leading family support charity

Our Families

Image of parent, volunteer and children entering a shop

Case Studies

The key to the Home-Start approach is parents supporting parents, providing non-judgemental friendship, practical and emotional support. Home-Start volunteers are in a privileged position, being welcomed into families homes and working alongside them to achieve beneficial change. To view a case study click on the title or the symbol on the right of each row.

A young family with two boys aged 4 and 2 years

A young family with two boys aged 4 and 2 years The elder suffers from a rare illness affecting three children in a million. The symptoms are similar to autism but also include hyper-activity, low concentration, delayed speech and slow growth and development. He has to be supervised at all times.

We supplied the family with a volunteer who had a great deal of experience with children with severe disabilities. She assisted mum in getting out with the children, in filling out complicated forms etc. whilst always aware of keeping up the parents’ spirits. They felt that because the volunteer had been through a similar experience she really understood their situation and was never shocked.

A year later the elder child has begun at a special school, a social worker is soon to be appointed who will ensure that the parents will receive respite on a regular basis and the correct disability benefits are being arranged.

A young mum suffering from mental health issues and OCD

A young mum suffering from mental health issues and OCD (Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder) was unable to go out alone and had to rely on her partner to do the shopping and take the children to the park. Her volunteer supported her over a long period encouraging her firstly to accompany her on very short walks e.g. to the post box and gradually making the trips out longer.

Eventually they travelled on a bus. The volunteer and mum would plan each short outing, never attempting too much and talking through the anxieties as they occurred. This mum now has a strategy to help her avoid panic attacks and is slowly beginning to enjoy life one step at a time.

A young mum suffering from mental health issues and OCD

A young mum (one toddler) with poor English language skills is working evenings, whilst dad works full time. They see each other infrequently as when he returns from work he takes over childcare and when she comes home at midnight he is already asleep.

The relationship was suffering as a result. Mum had bonding issues with the child, who was extremely active and cried a great deal. She found it hard to play with him and could not control him outside as he gets out of the buggy and runs away. She needed a mother figure to help her with positive affirmation, parenting skills, routine (to encourage the child to have a nap in the day etc) and also to sort out a benefit problem.

With poor language this mum didn’t understand the paperwork and became very stressed and emotional. The volunteer went with her to the Job Centre Benefits Office and the CAB to help sort the problem. She helped mum with behavior strategies, day to day routine and explored the possibility of her doing a parenting course.

Three months later the mum is following a parenting course, the little boy is attending a group for 2-3 year olds (without his mother) which gives her some respite and enables him to learn socialization skills with his peers. The volunteer continues to support with other issues.

What families say

“She (the volunteer) is the mum I never had, she’s really kind and patient, she’s my friend, I trust her. I find it difficult to trust people.”


“She listens to me and helps me sort things out I find difficult to do.”


“I can genuinely laugh now. I don’t hide anything from (volunteer). I can show my underbelly and she won’t judge me.”


“My volunteer’s brilliant, I love it when she comes. She gives me ideas what to do with the kids. We go out together. I’m enjoying time with the children much more than I did before.”


“(My volunteer) has lifted my spirits. I do feel more confident. There’s always some drama happening in my world, so it is nice to talk, to go somewhere, although I am worried that she leaves with a headache.”


“(My volunteer) is someone that you bond with straight away, who listens. To have a chat, a laugh together and someone who enjoys my kids too. She gives me hope that I will be better one day.”


“If I didn’t have my Home-Start volunteer I think I would have gone stir crazy. I don’t know where my kids would be now. I’d phoned Social Services many times.”