ACROSS Worthing and Adur, a team of dedicated, caring volunteers offer friendship and practical help to families who need an extra pair of hands or a listening ear.
Home-Start, the UK’s leading family support charity, has a base in Thorn Road, Worthing.
The organisation recruits and trains volunteers, who are usually parents themselves, to support families, offering informal, confidential support through home-visiting and family groups.
If a family is having a hard time coping with their child’s illness, experiencing relationship difficulties or just in need of someone to talk to, the volunteers at Home-Start are ready to help.
“Many parents need help, friendship, advice or support during those early years when children are young,” said Linda Sirodcar, a senior organiser at the charity.
“There is no rule book for raising a family and sometimes it can seem overwhelming, particularly if a family is going through difficult times.
“But if they can get the support they need when they need it, then day-to-day family life and their children’s future can be so much brighter.”
Worthing and Adur Home-Start, which covers the area between Ferring and Fishersgate, offers home-visits from volunteers, group work at children and family centres and social events depending on the level of support a family needs.
Last year, the charity supported 190 families with 365 children thanks to 78 volunteers.
Chris Bower, who previously worked for West Sussex County Council before starting to volunteer five years ago, said even simple support can make a huge difference to some families.
“I helped with a mother who was profoundly deaf – I would go to appointments with her and listen out for her name – something which was very stressful for her. It really opened my eyes.”
Worthing and Adur Home-Start is looking to recruit a new band of volunteers for its next preparation course.
The course will run for 10 weeks starting on September 18, from 10am to 2pm. Anyone wishing to become a volunteer should have parenting experience and be able to commit time to complete the course and then a few hours each week with a family.
To express an interest, email email@example.com.
To find out more about Home-Start, and read more case studies, pick up a copy of this week’s Herald (Thursday, August 2, edition) for the full feature by Sarah Dale.