Home Start have launched their Snowflake Appeal
this month, in order to raise money to help more children across the UK. The campaign runs from now until January, with the tag line “because the children we support are as unique and fragile as snowflakes.”
Home Start has been running for 40 years, and in that time they have helped over a million children. My daughter was one of those children.
When I was a frightened new mum with a tiny baby and no confidence, my health visitor referred me to Home Start and we were assigned our volunteer, D. D didn’t pay my bills or do my cleaning or tell me how to be a parent. She just turned up. Every Wednesday at 10am, she arrived with milk for coffee (and usually biscuits). We would sit on the sofa and talk about how my week had been. She would hold S (and entertain her for me) while I made important phone calls or caught up on bill paying. S adored her and at that point D was one of the few people she would happily play with. They became firm friends and S would often fall asleep on D’s shoulder after hours
We only saw D for a couple of hours a week, but trust me when I tell you she had a massive positive impact on our lives. Often she was the only person I saw in a week with whom I could talk frankly and honestly about my situation. She reassured me that I was doing well with S and that everything was fine; and that was really all I needed.
Although this is all D did with us, Home Start volunteers offer a lot more. They come to appointments with you and entertain your children while you do the actual “appointment” part. They can help you access services you probably don’t even know exist. They come up with ideas and explanations, they can help you fill in forms or make applications. They can help you to set up a routine in your household and to organise your finances. All the little things that can help to get a family home back on track.
This is from their website:
Four year-old Lizzie was malnourished, sad and missing out on her childhood. She had no winter clothes and wasn’t attending school regularly. Her mum was suffering from agoraphobia and post natal depression after giving birth to Lizzie’s sister and was afraid to leave the house. Walks to school and shopping became impossible. Home-Start offered Lizzie’s mum support for as long as she needed it and she is now on her way to recovery. Their volunteer organised food parcels and helps mum on shopping trips and school runs, with time for fun at the playground on the way home!
Lizzie didn’t need Social Services to swoop in and take her into care; her mother didn’t need to be sectioned. They all just needed someone to come in and help out a little and get them back on track.
I think Home Start help to bridge the gap between massive crises and perfect homes. A lot of families don’t fall into the “omg world is ending, call Social Services” category, they just need a little help with a few things and hey presto the children are in a much more stable, happy home. This contribution to society is largely overlooked and really shouldn’t be. If anything can be done to avoid children living in chaos, to make them happier and less vulnerable, shouldn’t we do it?
If you buy charity Christmas cards, please do consider buying them from Home Start.
Alternatively, you can donate £4 by texting SNOW04 to 70070.Home Start have helped to give S a much better start in life and there are many more families out there who could do with their support.
Check out this post on Premmeditations about Home Start.
If you’ve written a post about Home Start please feel free to leave a link in the comments here!