Home-Start Royston & South Cambridgeshire family stories
Family 1 – One parent, two terrible twos!
A single mother was referred to Home-Start Royston & South Cambridgeshire due to her depression and anxiety issues. Her two-year old twins were also suffering from frequent colds caused by poor diet. Mum was feeling inadequate and lacked the confidence to effectively manage her children’s behaviour.
Home-Start’s volunteer provided practical and emotional support referring mum to both Shelter and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for support with her uncertain housing situation. The family were moved into a flat during the time the volunteer was supporting the family which was disruptive to the children’s sleep. The Home-Start volunteer contacted a Health Visitor on behalf of mum who provided advice and support on bedtime routines.
The volunteer showed Mum how to include the children in preparing healthy meals for the family and encouraging them to eat fruit and vegetables. Mum attended a Children’s Centre run parenting course whilst Home-Start offered crèche facilities. The skills learned at the course were reinforced through discussion with the volunteer and modeling how they could be put into practice.
"The support the volunteer provided to me made life so much better for my children."
The volunteer Home-Start matched with the family unit had experience of raising twins. Feedback from the volunteer showed that the children’s behaviour improved, particularly in a group environment which meant they were better prepared for pre-school.
Family 2 – Breaking the isolation
A family was referred to Home-Start Royston & South Cambridgeshire by their health visitor six months after a traumatic birth. The mother of the two children was still breast-feeding and experiencing ill health. She had become withdrawn and isolated from friends and family. The father was working full time and struggling to renovate the house whilst the family lived in two rooms. Due to the renovations, mum was not allowing the children to access the garden or to learn to crawl freely.
Home-Start matched the family with a volunteer with extensive parenting experience who demonstrated a more relaxed parenting style. She taught the mother to manage risk without stopping their natural play or inhibiting their interest in exploring and discovering.
"The volunteer provided help and support at the most challenging time of my life. The girls both formed a special bond with the volunteer."
Family 3 – Supporting special needs
A family was referred to Home-Start Royston & South Cambridgeshire by their special need support teacher and were supported for 16 months by our home-visiting service.
The parents of twin girls born prematurely, one with cerebral palsy, were struggling to accept the diagnosis and different needs of their special needs child. The mother was struggling to cope physically and emotionally and the twins were not accessing pre-school services. Both parents were unwilling for the twins to have contact with other adults.
Home-Start matched this family with a volunteer who had experience of working with families with a special needs child. The volunteer provided acceptance and practical and emotional support so that the parents were willing to discuss the needs of their children and apply, with their volunteer’s help, for specialist toys and equipment. The volunteer was trained to assist with exercise routines and accompanied the family to the many medical appointments they needed to attend. A close and trusting relationship was formed between the girls and their volunteer so that Home-Start could then help the family to attend a local pre-school and access other specialist support.
The parent’s and children’s confidence grew and they were able to take part in their local community.
"My volunteer has really helped me to have time with my twins individually – something that is really hard to achieve. It is a close run contest now who wants to spend time with the volunteer – me or the twins. She has been a great sounding board when times have been difficult."