Back in 2020, which feels like a long time ago now, Home-Start were pleased and proud to be one of the selected charities in the Co-op “Local Community Fund” scheme.
The Local Community Fund scheme helps good causes in the community: every time Co-op members buy selected Co-op branded products and services, 2p out of every £1 spent goes to community groups and charities in the area.
The final funding figure we received was £1,566.84, which will help us to deliver our Family Support Group based in Royston for the Spring Term. Our Family Support Groups provide what some parents have described as a lifeline, especially over the last year when connecting with people has been more challenging than ever. The group, which is supported by trained volunteers and headed up by our experienced co-ordinator Jo, provides weekly sessions for invited families to attend. Each session offers age-appropriate, stimulating activities for children under 5. It promotes opportunities for both parents and children to socialise, which helps to develop connections between families. Connecting with other families promotes important peer support, which in turn often leads to solid friendships being formed.
One parent recently talked about her experience coming to Family Group. She told us:
For us, Family Group is a place to meet people, talk freely and get support. I have found that it builds my child’s ability to play and has helped her to make friends. Now, my daughter is not as clingy anymore, she is more sociable with other children. I have found that she now gives me space at home where she is able to play independently, which gives me time to actually get household tasks done.
There is something very powerful about witnessing the journey that we often see families make through their time at Family Support Group. It can be overwhelmingly difficult to walk into a group of people and find a fit, so much so, that many of the parents we support have tried other groups but have not been able to continue attending. Home-Start Family Support Group is designed to support parents who feel anxious and apprehensive. It is a safe, non-judgmental place where families can build on the skills they want to develop. Very often, attending Family Group regularly leads to parents and children feeling more confident, finding their fit and feeling more able to access other important support services in the local community.
We are so grateful to our local Co-op in Melbourn, the members there and other members further afield, who have chosen Home-Start as their selected charity to support through this initiative. We are proud to be rooted in our local community and as such, working with local organisations is very important to Home-Start. We also appreciate the significant difference that Family Support Group makes to the families that attend and therefore ongoing funding is crucial in ensuring we can continue to deliver this important service.