About Home-Start West Somerset

Home-Start offers free support, friendship and practical help to families with at least one child under seven.

One in four children under five in the UK has a difficult start in life, because their families are under pressure. Yet every child deserves the best possible start; to be loved, to play, to learn and to grow in confidence.

When this happens in a happy, secure family, a child’s health, schooling and life prospects all improve.

Home-Start believes that parents play the key role in ensuring that children have a happy and secure childhood, but even the most dedicated parents can face challenges that prevent them from doing all they want to for their children.

How Home-Start Helps

We support parents as they grow in confidence, strengthen their relationships with their children and widen their links with the local community. We work closely with health professionals, children’s centres, social workers, pre-schools, police, housing officers, drug counsellors and more, to provide a joined-up service for families.

Our committed and caring volunteers, who are usually parents themselves, offer friendship and informal support to parents living in West Somerset, with children under the age of seven, during difficult times in their lives. They visit families at home for two to three hours each week, and are friendly, approachable people who are relied on and trusted by parents to listen without being judgemental, and to respect the needs of each individual family member.

Families are referred by any professional working with them, with the family’s consent, or can self refer.

To Home-Start every family is special and we respond their needs by providing confidential emotional and practical support, as well as links to other universal and specialist services, as appropriate to need.

‘Home-Start+’ and more!

While most Home-Start schemes support families with children under five Home-Start West Somerset can take referrals for families whose youngest child is under 7; this additional service is called ‘Home-Start+’.

We have also recently developed a Breastfeeding Support Service in response to local need as identified by the health professionals with whom we closely work.

More About Home-Start

Home-Start schemes are rooted in the communities they serve and managed locally. They are supported by the national organisation. This offers direction, training, information and guidance to schemes as well as a robust quality assurance programme in which Home-Start West Somerset received an outstanding 100% result in 2013.

There is no central funding available from the national body so the local scheme has to raise all of its own funds. This creates a significant challenge for the team.

Home-Start West Somerset began its work as a registered charity (number 1113944) in 2002 and became company limited by guarantee in 2005 (5646970).

It now has 26 home visiting volunteers regularly supporting local families in their own homes across West Somerset, as well as 12 volunteer trustees, 6 volunteer advisors, 8 volunteer helpers and 5 part-time paid staff; a team of over 50 local people contributing their time and skills voluntarily, facilitated by only 4 employees (2.3 fte).

“Home-Start helps our society to ensure we are not neglecting families. We neglect at our peril, for young brains are shaped by what parents are able to give their children. If we do not support parents in that giving we hurt ourselves, in the cost of health, social work, prisons. So Home-Start offers services not just to families but to taxpayers and politicians. Thank you Home-Start.”
Early Years specialist, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk

Home-Start West Somerset provides the most cost effective and high quality family support service available in the area!

Home-Start West Somerset

Because every parent should have the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life.