Home-Start in Suffolk are once again inviting Suffolk primary schools and all Suffolk based Primary School aged children to join in this year’s activity’s fundraiser!

Championed by Home-Start in Suffolk Patron and best-selling author, Anthony Horowitz CBE and new Suffolk based children’s author Rob Parker!

The competition

This is set out in 2 age ranges: –

Years 3 to 6 pupils will be able to watch a video of Anthony Horowitz introducing the Key Stage 2 element to the competition followed by an extract from his latest Diamond Brothers Detective Agency novel – “Where Seagulls Dare.”

This year we are asking children to create a character that is in need of the Diamond brothers services. Draw a picture of them in a scene on the sheet provided and on the separate writing sheet tell us who they are, what they look like, where have they come from – are they an adult or child, or are they even human? Are they perhaps an animal? Or an alien from another planet? And what are they are in search of? Why do they need help from Tim and Nick Diamond? Can Tim and Nick help them?

We will provide all the materials needed for this and we can also provide some additional activity sheets for schools to use within the class such as code breaking exercises, word searches and puzzles.

Nursery to year 2 pupils will be able to watch a video of Rob Parker introducing the Key Stage 1 element of the competition, followed by the story of Stink the Sloth!

The story of Stink focuses on friendship and how everyone is different but is equally as special as each other. This will be followed by a task, where we are asking children to draw either a picture of Stink himself or one of his friends that featured in the story. Or for those feeling extra creative, they could create another character that lives in the rainforest and could join Stinks football team!

We will also provide some additional fun activity sheets for schools to use within the class, including word searches, puzzles and more.
To join in this exciting competition, we will be inviting teachers and home educators to show the relevant video to classes.

Entry forms will be available to download along with additional optional class activities for the children to enjoy.

Entries are to be uploaded in the usual way through our dedicated Dropbox ready for judging.

Closing date to sign up is 31 March 2023!


Overall winner prizes

Key Stage 2


Key Stage 1


Runner up prizes

Key Stage 2


Key Stage 1


Character Creations gallery

As we did in previous years, we will be displaying a complete gallery of all the entries we receive which parents and schools can access and view!

The gallery will be set out in a format that displays all the logos of the participating schools. By selecting the relevant schools logo you will access a page dedicated to the schools entries which will give you the option to view the entries as they were submitted (in year groups, class groups or age ranges depending on the size of the school)

There will also be a dedicated section for Home-Educated entries!

There will be the facility to order printed merchandise of every child’s design so parents can purchase t-shirts, mugs and much more through this page which links to one of our sponsors sites – Ipswich Embroidery and Print. For every purchase a small % of the cost of the items purchased will be donated to Home-Start in Suffolk which will go towards supporting even more families across our county.

Once we have received all the entries and the judging is complete we will be sharing details of how to access the gallery with everyone involved.

Announcing the winners

Once the winning designs have been confirmed we will be in touch with schools involved to arrange presenting these prizes.

We will also be working with the local press promoting the winning entries.


Welcome to our Sixth Fundraising Ball – The Moonlight Ball! We are delighted that you would like to join us for a great night in support of Home-Start in Suffolk!

Upon arrival you will be greeted with a welcome drink and canapes, you will enjoy a fabulous three-course meal followed by the opportunity to bid on a selection of exclusive items in our Moonlight Ball Online Auction.

You can also take part in the Mystery prize Raffle for your chance to win a bespoke gift worth over £150. Each table has been allocated one of our amazing prizes so when purchasing your tickets, remember you are only competing against those on your table to win – not the entire room!

You can register to place bids for the auction in advance by setting up an account on our bidding site! And this platform will be used for our raffle and our game of Heads and Tails so once you have registered, you will be able to place bids, buy raffle tickets, participate in the game of heads and tails and even make donations if you wish. You will have been sent a link to the site to allow you to register, but if you experience any issues email ali@homestartinsuffolk.org

Our beautiful giving Tree, kindly supplied by the Suffolk Plant Centre, will have some beautiful moonlight Ball themed decorations. You are welcome to take a moon and we encourage you to scan the QR Code to make a donation or if you prefer to donate using cash then please place donations in the sealed bucket at the foot of the tree!

Tallulah Goodtimes will be performing alongside Jade Mayjean and Toots; and by popular demand we have agreed extended hours with the venue giving you the chance to dance the night away until 12.30am!

Tickets are £65 per person – please call Ali on 07988 753611 to book your tickets for a great night of food, fun and festivities!

Private tables available for 10 to 12 guests. Individual, couple and smaller group bookings will be allocated a table and grouped together to complete a full table. LIMITED AVAILBILTY REMAINING!

Don’t forget to pre-order your wine or beer to avoid the queues at the bar and why not reserve one of our dedicated rooms at the hotel and make it a special overnight stay too!

She Plays Live will be performing and by popular demand we have agreed extended hours with the venue giving you the chance to dance the night away until 12.30am!

Tickets are £75 per person – We have limited availability remaining so please call Ali on 07988 753611 to book your tickets for a great night of food, fun and festivities!

Private tables available for 10. Individual, couple and smaller group bookings will be allocated a table and grouped together to complete a full table.

Don’t forget to pre-order your wine or beer to avoid the queues at the bar and why not reserve one of our dedicated rooms at the hotel and make it a special overnight stay too!

Special thanks to all our amazing sponsors

Platinum sponsor

Cory Brothers Shipping Agency
Cory Brothers Shipping Agency has been a trusted supply chain partner for businesses like yours for over 180 years. Whatever your business is, and wherever it’s location, we are here to support you.

See our range of global shipping services by clicking on one of the Logistics, Hub, Agency and Liner divisions below.

Cory Brothers Shipping Agency is a trusted supplier of logistics, liner, ships agency, and hub agency services around the globe.

From our humble beginnings as shipbrokers and coal exporters in Cardiff, in 1842, our operation has grown to provide supply chain assistance throughout the UK and around the globe.

You can rely on us for local expertise, wherever in the world you need us. We are here to keep your business compliant, cost-effective, and running on time.

Gold sponsors

Billiie Box Storage Containers
Shipping Containers to buy and rent
Shipping containers for static storage, office, canteens & chemical storage for sale in England and Wales with delivery to your door.
Do you need secure storage NOW?

We offer 10ft, 20ft and 40ft New or used Shipping Containers (also known as cargo containers or freight containers) and storage containers. We offer 10ft or 20ft steel chemical storage containers for sale. We also offer 20ft steel offices, canteens and office/stores for sale.

Our shipping containers can be delivered and offloaded at your premises, with Hi-ab vehicles. We have a number of container depots across England (London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Southampton, Leeds & Felixstowe) and are able to deliver across a large expanse of the UK.

Churchmanor Estates
The Churchmanor Estates Company plc has for over 35 years been one of the foremost commercial property developers in the East of England renowned for adopting a collaborative approach to the process of property development.

Through Joint Ventures with landowners Churchmanor have helped to unlock the development potential of their landholdings and for individual local and national business Churchmanor has developed new premises for relocation or expansion, for example the new Birketts HQ in Ipswich.

Churchmanor believe in creating brilliant spaces for work and for life and have developed over 3 million square feet of commercial accommodation which has included research and development parks, business parks, offices, retail and leisure and major town centre regeneration.

Silver sponsors

Bronze sponsors

Table sponsors

Grange Farm Shop | Marshall Hatchick | Opus People Solutions | Colourbank Property Service | Gressingham | Families Online

Special Thanks to the organisations that donated items to add to our gift bags.
With thanks to everyone has donated and provided raffle prizes for the event.

We are thrilled to be one of this year’s Larking Gowen Ipswich Half Marathon Charity Partners and delighted to have 12 fabulous team members running in this event, raising funds to support Suffolk families.

Would you like to join our team of runners? Register your interest here:

Link to sign up: 

For 52 years the Ipswich Greyfriars Round Table have been bringing Santa and Rudolph to the streets of Ipswich in support of local charities and in December 2022, Home-Start in Suffolk’s new Dad Matter project has been chosen of this year’s main charity.

For 16 nights, Santa and Rudolph along with an army of volunteer “Snowmen” ran the streets of Ipswich, braving all weathers, raising vital funds to support Suffolk families and other local causes. 

Starting on 2 December and running right up until just before Christmas it is a massive operation which is brilliantly organised and run by the Roundtable.

The event itself was a huge success with families coming out to greet Santa along the way and make donations as they pass.

The Christmas break allowed the Roundtable team to calculate the final total and they were delighted to announce earlier this week that they had raised a record total!

As we returned to the offices in the new year, Ali Watson our Fundraising and Marketing Manager met with chair Daniel Langford who presented the charity with a cheque for £12,000 which will be used to launch the new Dad Matters project soon! 

“We are so grateful to the Roundtable for supporting this project and to the community who donated to the Rudolph Run this year.” Said Ali Watson, Fundraising and Marketing Manager. “What a to start 2023.  Thank you Daniel and everyone involved.”

Continuing the fantastic partnership between John Lewis and Partners and local Home-Start schemes this festive season sees the return of the Magical Christmas Campaign.

The concept of the campaign was for each John Lewis store to select 5 families supported by their local Home-Start who would be gifted a Magical Christmas. Each local store was allocated a generous budget to be used in the best way possible to support these 5 families during the festive season.

The Community Liaison Coordinators, Calum Ralston and Kelly Powell, based at the Ipswich John Lewis store, worked with Home-Start in Suffolk’s team to identify families that could really benefit from this unique opportunity. And together they devised a special package giving each family a special gift that will make a real difference to their lives.

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with the John Lewis team on this amazing project again this year.” Explains Ali Watson, Home-Start in Suffolk’s Fundraising and Marketing Manager. “And together we were able to adapt the Magical Christmas campaign to provide something really special that will help the families long term and not just during the festive period. Each family has been gifted something that will make a difference during the Christmas season and beyond as well as some fabulous Christmas gifts for the children and a beautiful hamper of treats.”

The 5 families are spread throughout the county, and every single one has had the item handpicked and delivered to their homes to enjoy. One family received a new cot bed for their baby and all the linens to ensure her little one had somewhere safe and warm to sleep. Another was gifted storage drawers to ensure the children’s clothing could be put away neatly, helping with home conditions and space. Other items that were gifted include air fryers, a vacuum cleaner, a microwave and a baby monitor alongside some warm winter coats, some gifts for the children such as Lego and activity cubes and a treat for the parents as well. Each family received a luxury hamper of festive treats too. to help them reduce their energy
Calum Ralston and Kelly Powell, John Lewis Ipswich Community Liaison Coordinators said of the campaign “We are so pleased we have been able to put these special gift packages together for families in need across our County. It is heart-warming to know we have been able to ease a little of the pressure at Christmas time and we hope we have been able to bring a little joy to the families involved.”

“John Lewis Ipswich really have been incredible and really gone above and beyond to support these families.” Continued Ali Watson, “These gifts will certainly make a positive impact long term for all the families involved, and for us here at Home-Start in Suffolk, it was our Christmas wish that this Magical Christmas Campaign made a difference beyond the festive season! We know that Calum and Kelly have worked really hard to put these packages together and we couldn’t be grateful for all they have done.”

Next week the team will collect an additional 12 hampers of essential cupboard items thanks to John Lewis and Waitrose Ipswich which will be distributed to families in the lead up to Christmas.


Home-Start in Suffolk supported more than 1,500 local families in 2022 thanks to a network of fully trained award-winning volunteers who help families with children up to the age 12 through a range of challenging issues, including, loneliness, isolation, mental health, domestic abuse, bereavement, health struggles, disabilities, poverty and much more.

We have seen referral numbers rise sharply in recent months causing a huge strain on their existing 280 volunteers. It is therefore now vital that more volunteers are recruited and trained to cope with the rise in demand.

Tara Spence, CEO of Home-Start in Suffolk said: “It really has been a tough few years’ for everyone and we have seen families hit really hard as a result of the pandemic and now struggling exponentially with the increase to their cost of living.

“Our services have been accessed by record numbers of families in the last year and this sharp rise is showing no sign of slowing. Families who never before would have needed our support are finding themselves struggling and reaching out for help from our team.

“Whilst we know how fortunate we are to have our incredible network of 280 volunteers, in order to cope with this level of demand and avoid waiting lists, we need to recruit and train more volunteers.

“We hope the New Year might inspire people to consider taking on a challenge and would really like to encourage people to consider volunteering. Volunteering can have such aa huge positive impact, not just on the life of supported families, but also for the volunteer themselves.”

Volunteer Michelle said of her role as a Home-Start volunteer, “I am so glad I took the leap and became a Home-Start volunteer. I feel privileged to have been part of the Home-Start journeys for each of the families I have worked with and to see what a difference my support has made really makes me feel valued, like a I have sense of purpose and extremely proud to be part of such a wonderful organisation.”

Volunteering is associated with higher levels of wellbeing, better general health, improved life satisfaction and is a fulfilling way to help your local community.

“Home-Start works because it is such a simple yet powerful concept.” Continues Tara.

“Volunteers are matched with a family, then visit or call them once a week to provide vital emotional support and practical help. We also have volunteers that provide support to our many groups operated across Suffolk. It’s very satisfying to see families get the help they need when they need it most and seeing them blossom and grow in confidence is so rewarding.”

Mark and his family have been receiving support from Home-Start and said “I cannot thank Richard my volunteer enough for all the support he has given to me and my family. I think Home-Start in Suffolk are amazing. They really do make a difference.”

There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities available at Home-Start that can suit any time and level of commitment people may have. People can volunteer to support families in person or remotely via phone or zoom or help with one of the many group sessions organised by the family support charity. You could even volunteer your time to help with administration and fundraising roles.

“A new year is always a great opportunity to re-evaluate life goals,” continues Tara, “and it would be amazing if people could put volunteering on their New Year goals list.”


Suffolk Mums message lights up BT Tower this Christmas to thank the volunteer who supported her family.

A special thank you message lit up London today when a heartfelt quote from Suffolk mum, Heidi, to her volunteer was displayed on the iconic BT Tower.

Family support charity Home-Start in Suffolk, as part of the Home-Start networks national charity partnership with BT, invited Heidi to share the special message for Michelle, her volunteer as part of a 5 day campaign of heartfelt messages from families across the country, thanking volunteers who have been supporting their family.

The campaign aims to help raise awareness of the difficulties families are facing at this time, while also celebrating volunteers this festive season. The message is among five thank-you notes that will light up the BT Tower throughout this week. The full message on the Tower reads:

In darkness, stars shine even brighter
No star shines brighter than
Home-Start volunteers
Always there for families facing tough times
With Quote from Heidi “Michelle stopped us reaching rock bottom.”

The quotes will be displayed on the 190 metre high BT Tower from 9am to 4pm in a series of messages from Monday December 5 to Friday December 9.

Supported Mum of 3 Heidi said “I am so pleased that I was able to show my appreciation for all that Michelle and Home-Start in Suffolk has done for my family through this message and to see our picture on the tower is just lovely. Home-Start in Suffolk and Michelle were a lifeline for our family and the support we have had has made such a difference to us all. I am truly grateful for everything.”

Helen Orvis, Home-Start in Suffolk’s Volunteer Recruitment Manager said “It’s so lovely to see Heidi’s message to Michelle in lights. There is such a special bond between Home-Start volunteers and the families they are working with and Heidi and Michelle’s relationship is the perfect example of the friendship and trust that is built and the difference that having that support can make to a family.

“In the last 12 months our team of more than 280 volunteers have provided much needed support to a record number of more than 1,500 families, and this unprecedented increase is showing no signs of slowing. To ensure we can continue to cope with the level of demand on the service, it is vital that we recruit and train even more volunteers to ensure families have access to the support they need, when they need it most.”

The BT Tower messages are designed to stop busy shoppers, residents and commuters in their tracks to take a moment to remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Lighting up the tower with the messages from grateful families has been made possible thanks to Home-Start UK being chosen as BT’s UK national charity partner.

There are so many families struggling this winter, but you can show your support by donating to the Home-Start in Suffolk Winter campaign which will be used to help those families to feed, clothe and heat the homes this winter. https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/hsiswinter2022

Twelve well-known Suffolk professionals, from business owners, directors, professors and politicians, will be thrown in the cells as they take part in the Home-Start Jail & Bail Fundraiser this week to help raise vital funds to support Families across the county.

The event which will take place in various locations near the Ipswich Waterfront and Town center, which was due to take place in September but was postponed as a mark of respect following the passing of her Majesty the Queen, is the first ‘Jail and Bail’ fundraiser for the charity for several years and is set to take place this Friday 18 November 2022. 

Those ‘arrested’ are tasked with the challenge of raising their £1,000 Bail to secure their release and gain their freedom.

Home-Start’s Jailbirds, who are being arrested for a multitude of ridiculous and fictious crimes, include Labour and Cooperative Parliamentary Candidate, Jack Abbott, Lisa Perkins, Adastral Park and Research Realisation Director, Paddy & Scotts founder Scott Russell, Cory Brothers Managing Director Peter Wilson, James Crosby Director at Cory Brothers, Professor Gurpreet Jagpal Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Suffolk, Becky Ames, Partner at Larking Gowen, Gavin Wood of Beckett Financial Services, Elise Dyball, Partner at Marshall Hatchick LLP, Martin Moore of Beckett Financial Services and Home-Start’s very own Tara Spence, CEO and Alison Grant, Family Support Manager!

Their crimes range from crimes against comedy to oversharing their gym activities on social media, from ignoring important phone calls to bowling people over with enthusiasm. Suffolk Police will be riding in to make the arrests from 11.30am on Friday, booking them in and handed over to Home-Start’s Chair of the Board and Judge for the Day, Rob Thacker for sentencing before slinging them in the cells at Old Customs House, Home-Starts makeshift jail. 

Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Home-Start in Suffolk, Ali Watson said “It will be a fun day – I hope – with a serious fundraising side. As of today, the prisoners have already secured more than £7,000 towards their collective target and If each prisoner makes bail, that’s a minimum of £11,000 to help support families across our county who are really finding it tough at the moment. 

“Home-Start has seen a significant rise in the number so families needing support and in the last 12 months alone the team have supported more than 1,500 families through difficult and challenging circumstances.”





Between 3rd-6th October, seven members of 35 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search) will be taking on one of the world’s toughest open water swimming challenges. They will be swimming the channel as a relay to raise vital funds to support struggling families working with local family support charity Home-Start in Suffolk.

Each swimmer will take it in turns to swim the channel for an hour in rotation, until the team reaches France and for a swim to be officially recognised, you cannot wear a wetsuit! In fact, the only equipment you are allowed is a swimming hat, goggles, a nose clip, ear plugs and your costume. The official distance 21 miles. However, this changes according to the tides.

Sapper Eliza Clarke and her six work colleagues chose to support Home-Start with their fundraising efforts after seeing the incredible work the organisation does to support so many families. “’I wanted to support Home-Start because it’s a charity I feel passionately about. You really see the direct impact being made on the families. We’re taking on a big challenge, but the whole team have always strived to achieve and we wanted to give ourselves the incentive when things get tough during the challenge to think about all the good the money we raise will do for families.”
Fundraising and Marketing Manager for Home-Start in Suffolk Ali Watson said “We are so grateful to the team for choosing to support Home-Start families with this inspirational challenge! We fully understand the effort and training that they have all had to undertake in order to be ready for next week’s swim and we couldn’t be prouder. With so many families needing support and with referral numbers continuing to rise to unprecedented numbers, fundraising activities such as this make a huge difference.”

Home-Start in Suffolk, the county’s largest family support charity, has been supporting families across Suffolk form more than 23 years and were the awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2021.

They offer struggling families throughout Suffolk practical help and emotional support in a friendly, non-judgmental way through their network of over 280 volunteers. The families supported by Home-Start in Suffolk are facing a wide range of challenges including mental health issues, disability, physical health problems, poverty and domestic violence.

“In the last 12 months the charity has worked with more than 1500 families through, home-visiting, telephone support, dedicated groups and drop-in sessions, helping them navigate challenges, empowering them with the skills and confidence to raise their children to flourish.” Said Ali “But to continue to cope with the level of demand on the service it is vital that Home-Start in Suffolk continues to recruit new volunteers and that’s why this fundraiser is so important.”

“We really are delighted that these incredible individuals have chosen to support our organisation in such a unique way,” continues Ali “and we are looking forward to supporting them, watching their progress and cheering them on throughout the challenge!”

The swim began on the 3rd October and the duration will be determined by the weather and tide!

You can show your support for Eliza and the team by following this link to his fundraising page: