40 Years of Home-Start Support: An interview with our longest-serving Home-Visiting volunteer

Home-Start Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire is celebrating four decades of actively transforming the lives of vulnerable families in the community. That’s 40 years of Home-Start support! And none of this would be possible without the help of our amazing team of volunteers.

To mark this special 40th Anniversary milestone, we sat down with one of our longest-serving Home-Visiting volunteers, J, to learn more about her journey as a Home-Start volunteer.

Since joining Home-Start, J has helped many families in the community, providing support to those who need it most. In addition to her role as a Home-Start volunteer, J is an active member of the WI and has participated in a variety of volunteering roles in her local area. She adores her family and is especially proud of her sons and grandchildren. J also enjoys sailing with her husband, word searches, and hedgehog rescue.

We are incredibly lucky that J has chosen to devote her free time to our charity for many years, and invite you to join us on her inspiring story as we learn more about her Home-Start volunteering role…

Parent Quote from a Home-Start Family

An interview with our longest-serving Home-Visiting volunteer

How long have you been a volunteer with Home-Start Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire (HSRBSC)?

Since 2008 – 15 years.

Why did you decide to volunteer with us?

I worked in banking, and when I retired in 2008, I wanted to follow my dream of working with children and making a difference for families. My sister saw the advert about becoming an HSRBSC volunteer and said that would be perfect for me, so I got in touch and came on the training course.

How many families have you supported?

17 families, and every family has been very different, with some families sticking in your memory more than others.

What sort of things were the families you supported dealing with?

As I said, it was always so different in each family, but it ranged from families with twins who felt overwhelmed, families that had to flee from domestic abuse and were feeling isolated in a new place, children with additional needs, parents with health issues and supporting families who were finding their children’s behaviour difficult.

Parent Quote from a Home-Start Family

What are your most memorable moments?

My first family sticks in my mind. They already had two children and then had twins, and Mum said that she felt overwhelmed and wasn’t coping. I could see how, at the end of support, what a difference I had made. Mum felt she had things more sorted and realised she was doing a good job.

Another memory was when I was out, and I suddenly heard my name being shouted, and three children ran to me with open arms for a hug. This was a family where support had ended a few years before, and it was amazing they still remembered me.

What words do you think of when you think of Home-Start?

Helping, being there to listen, understanding, kindness, and emotional.

Parent Quote from a Home-Start Family

What do you enjoy about volunteering with Home-Start?

I like to see the difference I can make to a family and see the outcome of practical and emotional help. It is a slow process getting to know the family, but by the end of support, you get to know the family well, and I enjoy that. Also, the staff team are good and so friendly and supportive. I have seen several different members of staff during my time volunteering, and they have all been lovely.

What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with us?

Volunteering with Home-Start has given me a purpose and an interest after finishing work. It has meant I go out and have an interest, and I enjoy planning activities before a visit and playing with the children.

Every family I have met have been so different, and no two families were the same. I really enjoy volunteering with Home-Start.

Parent Quote from a Home-Start Family

Could you be our next Home-Start volunteer?

If you enjoyed J’s story and think you might like to become a Home-Start volunteer, read on…

We are looking for mums, dads, grandparents or carers with time to spare in the areas in and around Royston, Buntingford and SG8 villages of South Cambridgeshire to become a Home-Start volunteer. You may want to choose Home-Visiting or Family Support Group or both. With your experience, you could be the vital support a family needs to help change their life, and while you’re doing it, it might just change yours!

Our volunteers work alongside parents in their own homes, helping them to cope with the stresses and strains of life. And, we provide free training which will equip you with all the knowledge you’ll need to support a family. You’ll also get the chance to become part of the fantastic Home-Start team – what’s not to love about that?

If you would like to talk to us about our volunteering roles, call us today on 01763 262262 or email admin@hsrsc.org.uk.

Thank you to you all for the support and encouragement you give us as volunteers. It is such a comfort and huge reassurance to have all of your guidance. I feel really privileged to be part of such a special team.

Quote from one of our volunteers

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