I started volunteering for home-start back in 2007 I believe! I originally applied for a job as an administrator and was impressed by the trustees that I met and the ethos of the organisation. I was asked if I would like to become a volunteer and as Home-Start supports something I am very passionate about I agreed to train as a volunteer. I believe the early years of a child’s life are very important and supporting a family at this stage is not rewarding just to the volunteer but can help set a family off on the right track for the rest of the child’s life and set good grounding for any other siblings.
I have had some time away from volunteering as I have supported my own family, with elderly relatives and extended family, I have lost count of the number of families I have supported over the years but it is definitely more than 7! The support has varied from helping the mum to increase in self confidence to helping a family decide for themselves where they would like to live and helping them through the implications of that to helping with general behavioural issues and support in the home. The most precious thing I believe I can give is the time to listen and not to be judgemental but maybe offer suggestions or alternative ways of thinking.
The advice I would give someone thinking of becoming a Home-Start volunteer? Do it! If you like playing with children and listening to parents and are willing to act without judging then the rewards are immense.