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Become a Volunteer for Home-Start

To find out more about
becoming a volunteer for
Home-Start, please ring the office on
01706 629651
between the hours of
8.00am – 4pm Mon-Thur
8.30am - 3.30pm Friday
for an informal chat and
further information.

Application Form

A guide to volunteering for

Volunteer for Home-Start and make a difference to a family in your Community!

What is Home-Start?
Home-Start is a national charity with schemes in hundreds of local communities.  We recruit and train volunteers to help families with young children.  Our volunteers, who know about being a parent, support other parents by visiting them in their homes for a couple of hours each week.  We also run special family groups and hold social events for families.

What kind of families would I be helping?
All kinds 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 post-natal illness, bereavement or loneliness.  At Home-Start we support any parent with young children who asks for our help and our supported families, like our volunteers, come from all walks of life.

Can my support and friendship really make a difference?
All parents know that those early years before children go off to school are vital 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…your help.

As a volunteer what would I actually do?
Usually you visit a family in their own home once a week for a couple of hours.  How you help is really down to the family itself.  Some might need someone to talk to… others may need more practical support with meal planning and cooking, reading to the children, going to the local park or finding out about local services.

Do I need any qualifications to be a volunteer?
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.

Do volunteers get any training?
Yes, we give high priority to the recruitment, induction, training and support of all our volunteers.  You will be supported during your training and throughout your contact with families.  You will gain a certificate of attendance for this training.

What would I get out of volunteering for Home-Start?
Knowing you have helped; a boost to your self-esteem and confidence; even a foot on the ladder towards a job.  See what Phillipa says in her story…

Can I help without visiting families?
Yes.  Schemes also need volunteers to help run family groups and social activities and to help raise funds.  They also need volunteer Trustees to help manage their work.

Phillipa, a mother of three and a Home-Start volunteer….

“Home-Start appealed to me because it was a charity devoted to the family.  I felt I had a great deal of experience in this and therefore something to offer.

When I met my first family I immediately warmed to them.  Although I was asked to give practical help, it soon became apparent that the mother needed emotional support as well.  It took some months for her to talk about this, and it really felt like a breakthrough.

The most obvious reward is the sense of helping people.  Being a volunteer can occasionally be emotionally draining, but here are also poignant moments; for example when a child in your Home-Start family tells you he loves you, or the mother says she doesn’t know how she would manage without you, it feels wonderful.

As a Home-Start volunteer I never feel isolated.  I am part of a team and know that if I encounter any difficulties I can contact my Home-Start Coordinator at any time for support.  I have found being a volunteer for Home-Start an extremely positive experience.”

“When a child tells you he loves you… it feels wonderful”

A quick guide to becoming a home visiting volunteer

  1. You must be a parent or have parenting experience.
  2. As a Home-Start volunteer you will support a family by visiting them at home for around two hours, once a week.
  3. You should be able to commit at least twelve months of your time to Home-Start.
  4. You should have a non-judgemental attitude and understand about the pressures of bringing up a family.
  5. You will have to attend our free volunteers Preparation Course with other new volunteers before meeting your first family.
  6. Expenses are paid during training and while you support a family, and help with childcare costs may also be available.
  7. You must understand that your support for families is completely confidential.
  8. You will undergo a Disclosure and Barring Disclosure check at Enhance level, including the Child and Adult Workforce barred lists. You will also need to provide two references.
  9. You will be supported by your local Home-Start during the time you are visiting families.

© 2009 Home-Start Rochdale
Company Limited by Guarantee number 5282419 Registered in England & Wales and Registered Charity number 1107258.