Record Numbers of Families Accessing Home-Start in Suffolk Support

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.”