New volunteers needed to help families

PUBLISHED: 08:03 15 September 2015

Archant

A CHARITY which supports parents across North Somerset is looking for new volunteers to join its team.

Home-Start North Somerset helps parents who may be feeling isolated and overwhelmed by family life.

The charity has just celebrated 10 years since it was set up in the district.

It pairs families with a volunteer who will provide emotional and practical support to help parents.

Melanie Probert, from Churchill, has volunteered for Home-Start for just more than a year.

Melanie has three sons, and said: “I know how isolating it can feel when you have young children and you don’t have a support network.

“I have got a child with developing special educational needs, I know how emotionally draining that can be. I thought, if I can help someone else going through a tough time then I have done my bit.”

To volunteer people must be a parent themselves and be able to offer at least two to three hours of time every week.

Melanie said: “I work from home, so I have the time. But Home-Start are really good, if something comes up and you can’t make it, they don’t make you feel bad. You are made to feel just as important to them as a volunteer.”

Melanie has worked with three families and said the experience varies from person to person.

She said: “Many families will want to go out because they don’t have the confidence to normally. But then I have gone to someone and they just want a chat.

“It’s just a relationship for them and someone to talk to.”

The only contact between a family and their volunteer goes through Home-Start, to protect both volunteers and the people receiving the service.

The charity puts its volunteers through a 12-week training course which teaches them safeguarding and offers them advice on how to support families.

Melanie said: “The course is two to three hours a week. I really enjoyed it when I did it, it was educational but it was great fun.

“You just meet completely different people from all walks of life but you are all there for a reason, and that’s to help other people.”

Home-Start’s next course is due to start in November and the charity is looking for up to 10 new volunteers to join its team. For more information visit www.home-startnorthsomerset.org.uk or call 01934 419396.

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