Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. We are there for parents when they need us the most because childhood can’t wait.
Parents supporting parents
Home-Start works with families in communities right across the UK. Starting in the home, our approach is as individual as the people we’re helping. No judgement, it is just compassionate, confidential help and expert support.
Across all four nations of the United Kingdom, 13,500 home-visiting volunteers support over 27,000 families and 56,000 children to transform their lives.
There are over 200 local, independent Home-Starts working in 71% of local authority areas across the UK.
At the heart of each Home-Start’s work is home visiting volunteer support.
Families struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement and many other issues receive the support of a volunteer who will spend around two hours a week in a family’s home supporting them in the ways they need.
Home-Starts across the UK also support families in groups, hold day trips and Christmas parties and help access local services, as well as lots of other support.
The earliest years make the biggest impact
The earliest years make the biggest impact: Home-Start makes sure those years count so that no child’s future is limited.
Children who are raised in a stable, loving, family environment are more likely to have a positive and healthy future.
Home-Start works because our volunteers are parents. They understand how hard it can be. They work alongside parents, in their own homes, to help them cope with the stresses and strains of life and make sure they have the skills, confidence and strength they need to nurture their children.
We feel happy when our dad feels happy.
Greater Manchester Home-Starts
Last year Home-Start supported 56,000 children in 27,000 families, in communities across the UK.
Home-Start is committed to providing real evidence of the difference our volunteers’ support makes for families, which is why we measure the issues faced by families, and the changes to their situation while they are working with a volunteer.
Our support means:
- 91% of parents seeing improvements in their emotional health and well being,
- 94% of parents feeling less isolated,
- 94% seeing improvements in their children’s behaviour and development, and
- 91% feel more able to manage the household budget.
An independent study by Cardiff University one of the largest studies of family support of its kind showed that completing Home-Start support resulted in high rates of improvement among the most stressed families, including:
- 96% of those facing isolation
- 94% of those experiencing low self-esteem, and
- 95% of those coping with mental health issues
- We offer families a choice.
- We work in partnership – with each other, with families and with other agencies.
- We work in a spirit of openness, encouragement and enjoyment.
- We are flexible and responsive to the needs of families.
Home-Start started in 1973. We were founded by Margaret Harrison who believed that supporting a family was best done in their home where it can be shaped to the needs of the family. She realised that if parents get support and friendship from another parent, they will be better equipped to learn to cope with the many difficulties life can bring and will be able to give their children the best possible start to their own lives.
While this idea remains at the heart of our work, we have created new ways of helping parents and their children to meet the changing needs of families.
This idea that started in Leicester, spread across the UK and is now a movement around the world. There are now 22 countries on five continents that have Home-Starts providing support for families.
Margaret remained life president of Home-Start until her death in 2015.