Home-Start is one of the leading family support charities in the UK.
Home-Start volunteers help families with young children deal with the challenges they face. We support parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children.
Our support for families
Across all four nations of the United Kingdom 18,500 volunteers support 33,000 families and 70,000 children to transform their lives.
There are 280 local, independent Home-Starts. 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.
Why it matters
The five years between birth and school are vital for a child’s development. What goes on inside a family strongly determines the opportunities and life chances children have.
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.
Last year Home-Start supported 70,000 children in 33,000 families, in 280 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:
95% of families felt their children’s emotional and physical health and well-being had improved
95% of parents felt more involved in their children’s development
94% of parents felt less isolated
94% of parents said their emotional health had improved
95% of parents felt more able to cope with the day-to-day running of the house
We offer families 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 homewhere 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.
How Home-Start helps families.