welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteers do not need specific qualifications; it is their life experiences, attitudes and interpersonal skills that matter. Volunteers do need to be a parent or have parenting experience and will need the ability to:
- listen with understanding
- maintain confidentiality
- be committed to the scheme and to the families they visit.
All volunteers are carefully recruited and selected, and attend an initial course of preparation before being matched with one, two, or occasionally, several families.
Parents who have been visited may also become volunteers.
A Home-Start volunteer should:
- Be a parent or have parenting experience
- Be prepared to undertake the Home-Start preparation training course
- Understand why families may need support from Home-Start
- Have a knowledge of child development or willingness to undertake training
- Have a positive, non-judgemental attitude to working with people of any gender, family status or sexual identity, or who are from any ethnic origin, culture or religion, or who may have a disability
- Demonstrate a sensitive and caring attitude towards others
- Have a clear understanding of the confidential nature of the Home-Start service, and not to break confidences shared by the family, other than when disclosure is essential in order to protect the wellbeing or safety of a child
- Have time and enthusiasm for Home-Start, be reliable and understand the importance of reliability to the family
- Have good communication skills including an ability to listen
- Have a warm and open personality and a sense of humour
- Be able to work as a member of a team
- Be prepared to keep records as required by the scheme
- Be prepared to attend group support meetings and ongoing or refresher training required by the scheme
- Be prepared to attend supervision with the Organiser every six weeksThe role of a Home-Start volunteer
Home-Start is a voluntary organisation in which volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to young families under stress in their own homes helping to prevent family crisis or breakdown. Volunteers, who are parents or have parenting experience understand that sometimes family life can be tough and that is why their support can be so valuable in helping another family. Volunteers are central to the Home-Start service; we could not offer families the same support without them.
Home-Start volunteers give a high level of commitment and reliability and in return, receive high quality preparation and ongoing training, supervision and support from the Home-Start Co-ordinator(s)/Organiser
What do Home-Start volunteers do?
Home-Start volunteers aim to build the confidence and independence of the family by:
- Offering support, friendship and practical help
- Committing to a minimum of 2-3 hours per week home-visiting according to the family’s needs
- Visiting the families in their own homes, where the dignity and identity of each individual can be respected and protected
- Reassuring families that difficulties in bringing up children are not unusual
- Emphasising the positive aspects of family life
- Developing a relationship with the family in which time can be shared and an understanding developed, providing a regular, reliable presence in that family
- Drawing on their own experience of parenting to encourage parents’ strengths and emotional well-being for the ultimate benefit of their own children
- Encouraging families to widen their network of relationships and to use effectively the support and services available in the community