Helping South Holland families get a Start

Volunteers and staff from Home-Start South Holland, Holbeach St Marks.
Volunteers and staff from Home-Start South Holland, Holbeach St Marks.
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About 35 families a year in South Holland are finding an oasis in testing times through the work of Home-Start.

The charity has been supporting parents in times of bereavement, illness, isolation, disability or family breakdown across the area for the past seven years.

Based in Holbeach St Marks, volunteers with hands-on parenting experience, go into homes on a weekly basis in order to help parents with the challenge of raising their children.

Senior co-ordinator Mary Hutson said: “We are a family support organisation, providing practical and emotional help to families with young children.

“The charity does that through volunteers with proven parenting experience who are willing to offer their time to support families in South Holland.

“Our actual model is well-established, having been set up almost 45 years ago, and it works because parents are giving their time to help other parents.

Home-Start is facing the same financial and staffing pressures as other charities after it was confirmed in June that funding from Lincolnshire County Council is to end next month.

The charity also needs more volunteers who can offer emotional, practical and moral support to families in need.

Mary said: “Our work is much-needed in today’s society because we’ve not got the support network families once had, with people moving around and local authorities reducing their funding for lots of different services.

“Home-Start isn’t here to solve problems but to empower and help families in finding solutions.”

The charity has about eight trustees who oversee its work, with a group of volunteers who undertake home visits after receiving their training through a preparation course.

Mary said: “Our volunteer bank fluctuates quite considerably and we’ve probably got about a dozen Home-Start visitors at the moment in a climate where people are quite busy.

“The uniqueness of Home-Start is that our volunteers all have proven parenting experience, so they have the understanding and empathy to know what other parents are going through.”

For information about becoming a Home-Start South Holland volunteer, call Mary on 01406 701720 or email