Volunteer for Home-Start and make a difference to families in West Somerset
We are constantly running volunteer preparation courses, please contact Home-start if you are interested in becoming a Home-start volunteer.
We recruit and train local volunteers, men as well as women, to help families with young children. Our volunteers, who know about being a parent, support other parents by visiting them in their own homes for 2 – 3 each week.
Our support is tailored to meet the individual needs of the family. Some might need someone to talk to, others may need more practical support with meal planning and cooking, reading with the children, going to a local park, or finding out about how to access local services.
The only real ‘qualification’ needed is experience of the care of young children. Friendliness and a caring attitude are essential as well as an understanding of the pressure of parenting and a commitment to confidentiality. We value people who don’t judge others; people who will respect the fact that they have been invited into a family’s home; people who will treat a parent or carer as an equal.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting the families that I have and hope that I helped them in some way. I also want to say what a wonderful group of people run the organisation here in Minehead, each one of you is a great person and you put so much time and effort into running not only the families, but the volunteers as well. I will always consider you ‘friends’.”
What kind of families would I be helping?
All kind of families can find it hard to cope for all sorts of reasons, maybe because of the illness or disability of a child or because of a parent’s post-natal illness, bereavement or loneliness. At Home-Start we support any parent with at least one child under seven who asks for our help. Our supported families, like our volunteers, come from all walks of life.
Can my support and friendship really make a difference?
Yes. All parents know that those early years before school are vital in a child’s life and at Home-Start we believe parents have the key role in creating a secure childhood for their children. It’s just that sometimes they need a bit of help… your help.
What would I get out of volunteering?
Knowing you have helped; a boost to your self-esteem and confidence; even a foot on the ladder towards a job.
Do volunteers get any training?
Yes. The recruitment, induction, training and support of all our volunteers is really important. You will be supported during your training and throughout your contact with families. Home-Start’s highly rated Preparation Course is also accredited by CERTA. If your Home-Start offers this accreditation you will be able to gain credits and get formal recognition of your training.
Do I need any qualifications?
The only real ‘qualification’ is experience of bringing up children. Friendliness and a caring attitude are essential as well as an understanding of the pressures of parenting. We value people who don’t judge others; people who will respect the fact that they have been invited into a family’s home; people who will treat a mother or father as an equal.
As a volunteer what would I actually do?
Usually you visit a family in their own home, once a week for a couple hours. How you help is really down to the family. Volunteers support parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children. Simple things make a big difference: listening, getting out of the house, or helping sort a problem a parent can’t face alone.
“I was really happy to do what I did for my Home-Start family. The Home-Start boundaries allowed a level of detachment and reflection for me from which I actually learnt a lot myself. It was a most humbling and emotional experience.”
Our volunteer team
We currently have 40 volunteers in the home visiting team. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and are of varying ages. Some have young children of their own while others are grandparents. Some are retired professionals and others are still working and fitting volunteering into their spare time. Each of them brings a unique set of skills, experience and qualities to their role at Home-Start.
Some of our award winning volunteers!:
How else can you help?
Home visiting is not the only way to get involved. Perhaps you could consider whether you have the skills needed to become a volunteer trustee, advisor, helper at events or fundraiser.
Thank you for considering a voluntary role with Home-Start West Somerset. Together we can make a difference.
If you’re a volunteer, get downloads you’ll need!