Home-Start Reading was established in 1984, when a number of health visitors thought it would be beneficial to this area. We continue to be a professionally run registered charity offering free support to local young families. We recruit and train parent befriending volunteers who then visit a family once a week and offer non-judgmental encouragement by way of friendship and practical support.
Home-Start wants to see a society in which every parent has the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life. In order to give children the best possible start in life, Home-Start helps young families going through difficult times, whether because of bereavement, illness or disability of the child or the parent, post-natal depression, family breakdown, loneliness and isolation, or stress in coping with a number of children.
Our local committed and caring volunteers, parents themselves, are carefully matched with families that have been referred to our service. The volunteers are looked after by our small team of co-ordinators. The families also form great relationships with our co-ordinators, who are also there to support and encourage our families to grow in confidence, strengthen their relationships with their children and widen their links with the local community.
The majority of our families are referred to us by the Health Visiting teams, or by other statutory or voluntary services or from the parents themselves.
We run two ‘Family Groups’ (Whitley and Dee Park Estate) which support parents confidentially and encourage the children to learn through play. The groups focus on parents and children that are isolated, feel socially excluded, lack confidence in parenting or just want to get out of the house with their children.
Mums in Mind
We offer a seven week course to mums who are feel low, anxious or struggling with being a mum. This is a relaxed and confidential setting where the children are cared for in a professional crèche. The mums are given the opportunity to take part in craft activities and, if they choose, talk about the way they are feeling, with other mums who are feeling the same. Our co-ordinator and CBT professional will offer guidance and reassurance and give the “tools” needed to cope and understand feelings better.
School Readiness “Big Hopes Big Future”
The Marmot report highlighted the increasing problem of children not being “school ready” which had an impact on their ability to learn. Research has shown that children from deprived areas are more likely to fall behind in their developmental and educational milestones; as they go to school the gap has shown to widen. We offer trained home-visiting volunteers to work in the home with the parents to encourage their children in solution focussed activities to help bridge this gap. We hope that the big hopes we have for children on their first day at school translates into improved life chances and big futures for them all.