What our families say

“Having someone to talk to and being listened to without a judgment helped me to find energy and strength again”

“I would recommend this service to any families who are maybe struggling a little or someone who needs a little help finding things in their community.”

"Peep sessions are such fun for me and my son. We both enjoy it and I also learn a lot. You are great! Thank you!"

"That’s so helpful to have this advice. I wasn’t sure if I’m doing the right things. Now I’m more relaxed and sure of my skills."

"It’s so good to hear from someone words of appreciation. As a parent I feel like I never do enough, always could do better and should never be pleased with myself. You helped me to recognise work I do and the positive impact it has on my daughter."

What our volunteers say

"It has been great getting to know my first family recently. I have felt well supported by Home Start throughout my volunteering experience and know who I need to contact for help and advice."

"I have felt very positive about keeping in touch with the family I have supported. We have had video chats during lockdown and managed to have lots of fun with the children and keep up with all their activities."

‘I love to spend time with the family. The children are lovely and the calls are a highlight of my day”

"I have felt welcome and supported within the Home-Start team and the group of volunteers. The volunteering experience itself has been very fulfilling so far (despite the lockdown restrictions) and I am so glad I decided to take part."

[About training]: "Warm and encouraging trainers with a lot of knowledge. The group environment was safe and supportive."

What our referrers say

"Thank you for your continued support with this family which they have greatly appreciated”

"This is great what you are doing and I really appreciate your ongoing support with [the family]”

“Thank you for being so quick in getting in contact"

" I'm so glad to hear that mum has stayed in touch and is still using the service for support."

"One of the families that you speak regularly with was very complimentary about the service and I just wanted to thank you for your support during this time it is very much appreciated.”

Case Studies

Family Case Study - Connection and Support during Covid

E gave birth during lockdown and had little chance to connect with other parents. Although she found the prospect of “mum groups” quite daunting, she was glad of the invitation to join an online group. The first session was an introductory session with the coordinator and instructor, so that she could meet and recognise one of the people she was going to see on screen before joining the group. E found it relaxed and helpful and went on to join the group.

She enjoyed having a set time each week to meet, adding some structure into her baby-led world, and also found that being able to do the group in her own home was really helpful - not having the pressure to get out of the house, being able to turn up in PJs after a sleepless night or being able to enter a ‘safe space’ where she could control access to her camera and microphone if she felt she needed to.

The groups are organised in a locality and after the first set of sessions we offered socially distanced walks and a Whatsapp group which the group leader set up. Meeting other parents was a huge positive of the group for E. Being able to compare notes with other mums, and see the babies changing and growing was “brilliant”. E enjoyed learning about how she could support her baby’s development and gaining inspiration for things to do with her baby, but she was also able to recognise through the group the variety of positive things she was already doing, which helped motivate her through the long days of lockdown.

Family Case Study - Support at Home

R started attending Baby Peep groups after hearing about them from her Health Visitor. After a while she felt able to ask for some more help at home; whilst her and her partner were loving being parents it was stressful at times, especially with no local family support.

We offered some one-on-one baby massage sessions in the home and by the second visit R reported she could already see a difference in the bedtime routine. The sessions were also an opportunity to talk about her baby’s development, play ideas and her concerns about home safety. She was happy for a trainer member of staff to visit to advise on child safety in the home and was pleased to get tips on activity ideas and weaning.

Returning to work was a stressful transition for R, especially as baby’s Dad was struggling with his confidence. We were able to recommend other organisations to support Dad and continued to offer emotional support via text, phone and email. It was great to hear that Dad chose to attend a baby and toddlers group and R reported an ongoing improvement in her mental health.

Family Case Study - Accessing Resources and Remote Support

M had moved to her current tenancy after several years in temporary accommodation, not long before lockdown started. She had no neighbourhood connections and was waiting for a diagnosis for her son. Her son had very little awareness of danger and being cooped up indoors was very difficult during lockdown, especially as access to nursery provision was affected.

When M first talked with HomeStart she felt at her ‘wits end’ and was looking for emotional support and someone to talk to about the conflicting information she had received. We were able to offer remote support and also to help her access a financial award to get some play equipment for the garden to encourage her son outside and help meet his physical and sensory needs.  

Volunteer Story - Volunteering through Lockdown

"As a volunteer with Homestart the lockdown came at a time when I had finished supporting one family and not begun with another. The idea of getting to know a family when I couldn’t meet them in person seemed not only challenging but somewhat daunting. However my fears were soon put to rest after the first call as I felt I had made a connection.  

It must be almost a year that I have supported the family and our relationship has blossomed. Recently she told me how much the weekly phone call had meant to her and the support it had provided. Although she still had contact with family and friends she felt they didn’t always feel as she did and needed someone who could understand and listen to her viewpoint without judgment. I made it clear at the start that l would call at the same, agreed time, every week but if she needed to talk outwith this time she could message me.

She has on a couple of occasions been in touch, and at these times I was able to help her with the particular problem and resolve it quickly. During the summer we were finally able to meet up in a park. By this time we felt we knew each other well but didn’t know what the other looked like, a strange situation to be in!  I also met the children which was lovely as I personally had missed that side of our role. 

As well as supporting a family I have also delivered Baby Massage classes by Zoom. One of the things that we did in preparation for the classes was individual Zoom meetings to introduce ourselves and give some information. This has proved really worthwhile; it helps break the ice and allows any worries or anxieties to be aired before the initial meeting.  

All in all I have found the experience to be a positive one. We would all rather meet in person and have proper contact but in a situation that has been so hard for so many of our families it has I think been a lifeline and definitely worth doing. "