Free Home-Start course

Pippa is mother to three daughters and five small grandchildren and has been volunteering for four years for Home-Start.

“We give two hours every week, plus travelling time. I live in Chiswick and the mums I’ve had have been in Brentford, Isleworth and Chiswick, so all in Hounslow. All very diverse mums who just love that little bit of support you give them.”

Pippa Roberts with Alexander, her grandson born this weekend!

What kind of families do you help?

“The first mum I had had twins, and then another one very quickly, so it was like having triplets. So there it was a case of getting them to bed, or getting them into a car and just giving her a little bit of time to take them to the park.”

“Another one had twins with multiple problems. So it was practical help but a lot of the work is also emotional support. “

“Another mum in Chiswick suffered from anxiety and depression and low self-esteem. And again it was helping her to get out of the house, taking the kids to various activities and a lot of emotional support.

“I currently have a mum who has two small children, one who is severely disabled so mum is never away from this little girl. She is a brilliant mum but her family don’t live nearby. So I literally give her time to make the bed or cook some lunch or answer emails and keep the little girl occupied and help the brother when he comes home.”

“Initially they are a little bit nervous and then you gain their trust. Sometimes it’s difficult for mums to admit they need support. It’s really nice to build up a rapport with the mother and child.

How does Home-Start support their volunteers?

“I’ve been very lucky. Home-Start are very good at matching the volunteers and the families. They look at your experience and your attitude and whether you are a good fit with a particular family.”

“The initial training covers safeguarding, and different cultural attitudes to bringing up children. We cannot be judgemental.”

“They give you amazing support and come and check on you every four weeks and are at the end of a phone and there is a lot of follow up training. I’ve just done a paediatric first aid course, all funded by Home-Start.”

“It’s a great charity and I get a lot out of it.”

Home-Start:

Provide a vital lifeline for local families with children under five. At the heart of our charity are the parent volunteers who give their time to help other parents who are struggling to cope. They support them to manage their own issues as well as helping their pre-school children to be ready for nursery and school. At the moment, they are particularly looking for parents from Hounslow Borough.

Last year Home-Start helped 324 vulnerable families and over 615 children in the boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston; most being referred by Health Visitors and other professionals. Our trained volunteers support parents with difficulties such as mental health, family breakdown, domestic abuse, bereavement, disability or a combination of factors that can affect their children’s welfare. Please call 020 8577 9552 (Hounslow office) or visit www.homestart-rkh.org.uk

The Course:

The course will run in Hounslow 9.30am-2.30pm, on Thursdays from 14 March to 9 May (Easter break 11 and 18 April).