New volunteers finish Home-Start training with the support of Johnson Matthey

At the heart of Home-Start is the community helping the community and as a charity embedded in our local community of Royston, Buntingford and South Cambridgeshire we are always blown with the many ways people support us as we give a helping hand to families with young children in our area.

Johnson Matthey (JM) have partnered with us over many years, supporting our charity in a number of different ways. At Christmas, JM employees give gifts to every child which has brightened up a time of the year which can be difficult for many. They have provided funding which goes towards the vital work we do, coming alongside families who are struggling for many different reasons. They gave us ‘people power’ when our meeting room needed some decorating TLC and just recently stepped in to help us with a venue for training our volunteers.

After the last two years, where we have had to train volunteers using zoom, we were incredibly excited to get back to our face to face training for volunteers. Again we had an tremendous response from the community, with people stepping up to volunteer their time, skills and experience. 8 volunteers joined our 7 week course to train to become home visiting volunteers.

We then had a problem – the room we have at our office was just too small for our course and so we were looking at ways we could find a venue large enough to be Covid safe for our volunteers and somewhere easy to get to. This is where Jayne Foster and JM stepped in and as we are one of their main charity partners, offered one of their JM training rooms.

JM is located at the heart of our community and a fitting place for us to use with the bonus that some volunteers were able to walk! The facilities were fantastic and we couldn’t have hoped for a better place for our course. Jayne Foster and Jacky Jones did so much to make the whole experience for us and our trainee volunteers special. Welcoming us for each session with Jacky even remembering our volunteers’ names to greet them back each week, which made the volunteers feel extra welcome.

We could then concentrate on delivering our bespoke in-depth training covering the role of a Home-Start volunteer, supporting families, meeting the needs of children, confidentiality, listening and communication, safeguarding and our getting ready for school project. Some of the highlights of the course was hearing from some current volunteers and a family who has had Home-Start support in the past and this demonstrated the impact our charity has in making a difference for families when they need us most.

As we came to the end of the course, we celebrated the volunteers’ achievement with a delicious buffet lunch kindly provided by JM – which made us all feel very valued. Maureen Brierley (Chair of Trustees) came along to present certificates and say a big Thank You.

Now our new volunteers are trained, part of our incredible team of selfless volunteers ready to come alongside families with compassionate and confidential support, working with families to build on their strengths and we are very much looking forward to matching them with their first Home-Start families.

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