Did you know that only 14% of third sector organisations feel well equipped to meet the compliance, strategic and developmental needs of the charity over the next 3years?


So now you do, what are you thinking?

a)      Wow! -I have the skills, expertise and drive to help a charity with their compliance/strategy/development’s needs


b)      I’d like to help but it seems like too big a task to get a get a charity up to speed on all of that


c)       What am I having for dinner tonight?

Well perhaps we can help you with the answers:


a)      Give us a call! 01473 621104 or email headoffice@homestartinsuffolk.org

b)      Panic not, Home-Start in Suffolk are not in the 14%! We Have an amazing team of staff and Trustees who are already working on these areas, however we would love to have a few more trustees join our board to share their expertise and fill in the gaps we currently have

c)       Pizza! and when you’ve eaten it perhaps you could have a re-read of this advert!


So, what do our Trustees do? For a start they have legal responsibilities as directors of Home-Start in Suffolk a charity and company limited by guarantee.

Trustees are legally responsible for account and company records and they provide support to our CEO and the management team in helping Home-Start in Suffolk meet its charitable objectives.


Obviously, we hope that you already know what Home-Start in Suffolk does (we won’t hold it against you if you don’t!).

Home-Start in Suffolk provides 1-1 support to families across Suffolk.

Last year we provided help and support to over 1600 people and 89% of our families tell us that they are able manage so much better from the support that Home-Start gives them.


Our main aim to work with families who are experiencing a challenging time in their life. We hope to support them early enough to help them get to a place where they don’t need statutory intervention, however we also support families who are going through a statutory process such as having children on a child protection plan to provide the family with support to get to a place where they are better able to cope independently.


It sounds amazing right!


Well then hopefully this will totally blow your mind, the 1-1 support we offer to Suffolk families is provided by VOLUNTEERS!

That’s right, 200 volunteers from over Suffolk (and a few from over the county borders (we don’t talk football!)) visit Home-Start families on a weekly basis giving up almost 37,000 combined hours of their own time to work with Home-Start.


We are looking for some really special people with some pretty epic skills and experience to join us, particularly in Safeguarding, data and research, marketing, charitable trading, Governance, however we would still love to hear from you if you think you have other skills we could benefit from.

If any of this has made you think you could be a part of our amazing team then these are the ways you can get in touch:


Call- 01473 621104

Email- headoffice@homestartinsuffolk.org

Or if you’re still not sure if its for you, did we mention that one of our Patrons is Anthony Horowitz! #micdrop

Ryan's story

Ryan is a polite and enthusiastic boy, his behaviour is excellent at school and he tries his best.  His mum is supportive of all of her 6 children and 3 step-children whose ages range from 5 to 22 years, but life at home can be cramped and chaotic in the 5 bedroom house they share with their step-father.  At home Ryan has moments of anger and can be aggressive to his siblings.  He has not seen his biological Father for the last year and appears troubled that his school tutor looks like his ‘real Dad’.

Ryan was identified by the school Family Support Worker as suitable to attend the after-school group run by Home-Start in Suffolk.  Ryan’s Mum reports that he is much more relaxed on the evenings that he comes home from group and he is always keen to tell the family when the science experiments don’t work.  He informed them “It’s alright for it to go wrong sometimes!”

The Family Support Worker says “The group allows Ryan and his colleagues to ‘fail’ in a safe and secure environment with people they trust.  This in turn can transfer to the classroom where pupils may be more willing to take a risk once they have practised this skill in an environment they feel safe to do so”

One of Ryan’s comments was “I would like to stay on the group and do more science… and I like the treats!”

His mother has since accessed the school’s Dancing Club on another evening for the 3 youngest children because she wanted the opportunity to spend 1-1 time with Ryan whilst giving the others the opportunity to socialise with their friends outside the classroom.  The group has resulted in a positive impact for the whole of Ryan’s family.

Debbie's Story

Archie is a 10 year old boy whose Dad Phil is terminally ill with leukaemia and has complex health needs which mean that he needs to rest in bed or in his wheelchair. Mum Debbie has little time to spend with Archie as she is Phil’s carer. When Debbie got in touch with Home-Start she was worried that Archie was missing out on having someone to play with, he was spending long periods on his tablet and had low self- esteem and poor body image.

This is where volunteer Thomas stepped in. Thomas has been visiting once a week as a mentor for Archie and has done some amazing things together. Thomas taught Archie how to play chess and cricket, and when they went to the park and Archie wasn’t confident about using the zip wire Thomas jumped on to show him how and encouraged him to try. He did and he loved it! 

We are pleased to share Debbie's story with you....


Kim's Story

Kim was told, she couldn’t get pregnant, so had planned to go travelling with her partner. Subsequently finding out she was pregnant came as a bit of a shock and resulted in mixed feelings and guilt. Resentment then followed a difficult labour and complex birth, contributing to post- natal depression.

Kim was referred to Home Start by her Health Visitor who was concerned about Kim’s bonding with her daughter as well as Kim’s mental health. Kim felt that she had to continue to be the ‘big personality’ amongst her friends and family and found this hard to maintain due to her own mental health meaning sometimes she didn’t want to see anyone. Over the course of the first year of her daughter’s life she had alienated many friends as well as her Mum and felt that her partner didn’t understand.

Support was needed to enable Kim to meet others in her community as well as having someone to talk to who she could engage with and who would support her in bonding with her daughter.

"Our volunteer, Polly visited once a week and was mindful of Kim’s mental health by on her first few visits, asking Kim if she was happy for her to stay once she’d arrived as sometimes Kim may not be able to cope with a visit or may need a shorter one"

Polly was supportive in listening to Kim and how she felt or what she’d been doing each week and provided encouragement for Kim on her parenting, by acknowledging interactions between her and her daughter as well as positive comments about what they’d done together since her last visit, leaving Kim ‘always feeling good about herself’ once Julie had left, as Kim wasn’t used to anyone saying she was doing a good job.

By the time Polly’s support ended, the boost in self- esteem and having had the consistency of the volunteer to talk to each week had enabled Kim’s confidence to grow so that she was able to talk again to her mother and re-build relationships with her, her partner was more understanding, having seen how Julie had been able to help. Kim started part-time work, she would go out with her daughter more as well as being happy to leave her with her family so she could go out and was excited about their imminent house move.

Kim had been unsure about Home Start support initially but by the end of the support fed back to us that she:- ‘Couldn’t praise Polly more, a great listener, always made me feel better and no pressure!’


Lauren's story

Life has been turned upside down following a family’s baby being diagnosed with brain damage. Suddenly there are lots of hospital appointments, admissions and an unknown future.

Both parents are left feeling overwhelmed with the emotional and practical demands of caring for a baby who regularly experiences dystonias and is generally unsettled day and night, whilst also juggling the needs of their other 3 young children. 

The health visitor referred the family to Home-Start as they thought the family would benefit from a volunteer who could provide some practical help with the children and the home, and someone for Mum; Lauren to talk to.

Ruth visits the family home after school once a week on one of the evenings Lauren’s partner has to work late.  Having Ruth there to “share the load” enables all of the children to get one-one attention; time spent reading, doing school work and playing. Either will prepare the meal and the children and Lauren can all sit together whilst Ruth holds and sings to the baby.

When Home-Start first introduced Ruth to the family, Lauren said she felt “immediately at ease with her”, and has been able to talk to her especially when it has been a difficult week. Lauren’s evenings are less chaotic and easier to manage with Ruth’s help. Although the situation remains the same, Ruth’s visits allow the family a little breathing space as they adjust and explore what ongoing support is now needed and available to them.

Volunteer opportunities

Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding role when you make a real difference to someone’s life. Home-Start in Suffolk is a local charity supporting families in across the county.
We are looking to recruit individuals all across Suffolk to join our team of volunteers supporting our home visiting service. Our volunteers are trained to support families for whom the pressures of family life have become too much to cope with alone. This can be for various reasons: isolation, illness, bereavement, or post-natal illness.
Volunteers visit a family in their own home once a week for 2/3 hours. How they 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.
Volunteers don’t need qualifications; the only real ‘qualification’ is experience of caring for 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 they have been invited into a family’s home; people who will treat a parent or carer as an equal. All volunteers undertake a minimum of 30hrs preparation training before they are matched to a family who would benefit from their skills and experience.
Volunteers can get a lot out of volunteering with Home-Start, a boost to self-esteem and confidence; even a foot on the ladder towards a job as we offer OCN accredited training.
We also hold social events and opportunities for our volunteers to get together.
If you are interested in finding out more please contact us on 01473 621104 or email headoffice@homestartinsuffolk.org

Snowflake Ball 2018

We can't believe its been almost a week since we hosted our Snowflake Ball!

We are so pleased to announce that our fundraising total stands at £12,016.

This is an amazing amount to raise, and will go directly to supporting the many children and parents that our volunteers support in Suffolk.

Thank you once again to Tim Holder for getting the evening off to a flying start, and encouraging us to dig deep, and to Miranda Kendall for sharing her personal experiences of being a Patron for Home-Start.

 Thank you to our event sponsors and supporters

Event Sponsor: Henbrandt ltd.
Drinks Sponsor: Link Group
Dessert Sponsors:  Diane Milan, Maple Farms, Hudson Signs
Table Sponsors:
Clarke & Simpson,  Jo Jo Humes Brown Design
Ashley Meyer,  Grange Farm, Honey & Harvey,
JHI Marketing , Marks & Mann, Notcutts,
Stubborn Mule Travel, Suffolk Carpet Weavers,
The Table , Tracy Rogers

Tree decoration: Lilac Thyme

Compere: Tim Holder & Tara Somers
Patron: Miranda Kendall
Auctioneer: Olly Holloway
Promotional film: Andrew Spence
Photography: :Lara Marshall

Ball Committee
Helen Clarkson-Fieldsend, Polly Edmunds, Yvonne Holdcroft,
Miranda Kendall, Julia Longe, Diane Milan
Special thanks to Charlotte Nowosad.

Sell-Out Musical Has Spare Seats for Suffolk Bidders

It’s the Broadway hit show which has witnessed among the fastest ticket sales in recent times  – but that hasn’t stopped one Suffolk charity getting hold of tickets for Hamilton the musical.

Keen to provide some exceptional auction prizes for its forthcoming Snowflake Ball, Home-Start in Suffolk has managed to secure seats for this fantastic live performance.

The charity’s ball takes place at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall on Friday 18th May, and is seeking to raise money to support its lifeline work for families around the county.

In the last year Home-Start has worked with over 300 families who may be struggling for many differing reasons, such as illness or disability, multiple births, mental health problems – or, following a bereavement.

Each year the charity aims to raise over £30,000 through local fundraising activities and their Snowflake Ball is the pinnacle of their annual fundraising calendar.

Charlotte Nowosad, Fundraising Co-ordinator, said: “The Snowflake is representative of the unique and fragile nature of the children that the charity support and we are so excited to have these most coveted tickets to help fund the amazing support that our volunteers give local families.”

If you would like to find out more about Home-Start or purchase tickets for the Ball (priced at £58 per person), please contactthe team on 01473 621104.



We need 30 seconds of your time

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We are currently trying to capture short sound bites (mini voice recordings) about peoples experience of Home-Start in Suffolk.
We hope to use a mix of these sound bites at various events, and online, to help give people an idea about what we do, who we are, the benefits of support, why people volunteer etc.

If you would be able to record a sound bite, and/or ask your Home-Start family to record one we'd be ever so grateful. we're not at all fussy who does it, partners and children are very welcome to get involved! You can even ask your own family to tell us what they think about your volunteering, perhaps you have a proud partner, child or parent that would like to be involved!

So here's how you do it:

Most modern phones have a sound recording app- for example 'Voice recorder' on a Samsung, or Voice memo on an Iphone.

With as little background noise as possible record a 30second -1minute clip ( don't worry if its less than 30seconds or more than a minute, as we are able to edit these).

Then save and send us the clip via email to headoffice@homestartinsuffolk.org, you can do this as an email attachment, or once you've recorded the sound clip, chose to share via email or via Whatsapp to 07763598213. Whatsapp has the facility to record directly using the in app voice recorder, however you might find the sound recorder apps easier to use, as you can check it and re-record if neede before you send it to us.
Please put your name in the message so we know who is sending it, and also let us know if you are happy for your name to be used alongside your clip or not.

Any problems just give us a call on 01473 621104 or email headoffice@homestartinsuffolk.org


A SURGE in calls for support, from families across Suffolk post-Christmas, has led to one charity making an urgent appeal for volunteers.

 Home-Start in Suffolk typically sees a spike in requests for help and befriending immediately after the festive season, but this year saw a marked uplift on previous years.

The charity is determined to counter the potential demise in family relationships and mental health during this critical phase, but needs more individuals to come forward and give the gift of their time in the community.

Tara Somers, Executive Manager for the scheme across the county, said: “Every year, in January, we anticipate a rise in the number of families – or referrers – calling us to say that there is a particular ‘need’ in a household.

“Christmas can be a very stressful time for families, particularly where there are young children concerned. That simply exacerbates any underlying issues or vulnerabilities.”

Since the office of the Martlesham headquarters reopened after the immediate Christmas public holidays, 48 referrals have been received, directly seeking help and support, a 182% increase from the same period last year.

Ms Somers says the need is particularly prevalent in the west of the county, and in the area of Beccles.

“These are two areas where we have identified a significant requirement for more volunteers,” she said.

“We have families who could benefit from a few hours a week of befriending, which is typically carried out by someone who we vet and train, and who then spends time understanding the very specific issues of that household.

“It may be that the person merely spends time with one or both parents, or helps with certain tasks around the home. Each case is very unique.”

Home-Start’s core objective is to help families where there is at least one child under the age of twelve. The charity provides a potential ‘lifeline’ during periods such as bereavement, ill health, social isolation, or any number of challenging circumstances.
The organisation delivers a full programme of training for new volunteers, and thoroughly screens all applicants via the DBS process.

Ms Somers commented: “We would very much like to hear from anyone who has ever considered sparing a few hours a week volunteering.

“We can talk an applicant through the ways in which they can help a family, what support will be provided for them as the befriender, and how strong our feedback approach is, to ensure they feel confident at every stage.

“A small amount of time from someone could make such an incredible difference to the life of a family in Suffolk.”

To discuss befriending roles, or other ways to support Home-Start in Suffolk, please contact the Martlesham office on 01473 621104.


You're in Control

You’re in Control awarded £80,522 by BBC Children in Need

Home-Start in East Ipswich is celebrating being awarded an £80,522 grant by BBC Children In Need.

The generous three-year grant will be used to fund the You’re In Control project, a new initiative which is set to support children and young people in Ipswich.

You’re in Control targets those between seven and 12 years of age, together with their families, and provides one-to-one volunteers who help deliver emotional and practical support to boost a young person’s self-esteem.

It is the first direct service that Home-Start has provided to children and young people in Ipswich, and the need was identified as a result of increased referrals, specifically requesting such support.

Tara Somers Manager of Home-Start, said: “Without the support of Children in Need we would have really struggled to get this much needed project underway.

“This grant allows us to reach out to young people, by funding a youth co-ordinator who will then be responsible for recruiting and training volunteers. These volunteers will provide direct support to children and young people in Ipswich.”

The grant itself has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the public.

A total of £32.6 million was raised on Appeal night 2014 and BBC Children in Need have since announced that this total has risen to a record breaking £49.1 million. 

BBC Children in Need funding relies on the energy and commitment of thousands of fundraisers and supporters across the UK who donate their time and money to support the Appeal.  Whether it’s cake sales, spending the day in fancy dress or putting on a quiz, every penny of the money raised goes towards supporting projects across the UK.

All grants go to projects working with children and young people living in the UK who may be affected by homelessness, neglect, abuse or poverty, or those who have faced challenges in their lives such as serious illness, disabilities and psychological disorders.