What we do
Everybody needs a little help at times and unfortunately not all of us have a support network of family and friends. That's where our amazing volunteers step up and offer that helping hand to families across Flintshire.
Impact of COVID-19
Things are different now during the COVID-19 pandemic and this is impacting greatly on everyone. More families are struggling with the isolation this brings and the impact on both physical and mental health. Not only are many of the families we support struggling to maintain a level of positivity but their go to people are now limited in what they can do to help.
Our volunteers carry out amazing work with families with young children, normally within the family's home and address all kinds of issues from bereavement, disability, social isolation and loneliness, to coping with mental health issues, drug and alcohol misuse and domestic abuse.
During COVID we are having to change how we support families. Due to government restrictions we can no longer go to the family homes. Instead we are creating and delivering weekly activity packs , currently for over 160 children, supporting over 50 families with a combination of telephone/multi media support and live streaming story time to keep children engaged. Our volunteers are helping to keep this support going and do a great job of signposting families for the help and support they need when regular contacts have ceased during this extraordinary time.
We'd appreciate your help for us to continue to meet the needs of the children and their parents and potentially expand this support. We want to be able to continue with these packs and develop them. We have had amazing feedback up to now which has proved to us that there is a definite need. We'd like to look at not only supporting the children in the family but the parents too. We'd love to have the funding to design a pack aimed at nurturing their wellbeing. Often all we hear are negative news reports, frightening statistics and no idea of when we will be able to return to our own 'normality'. Having something to focus on positivity and parental well-being will then have a positive impact on their children.
We still want to have the original plan we developed before COVID-19 hit us all. We still want to better support our volunteers and when we can return to our traditional way of working would like to create a place where they can drop in to access resources, catch up with each other for peer support and receive more training opportunities to ensure they are kept up to date with all the latest techniques and ideas. Supervisions are vital to ensure our volunteers are coping and feel supported themselves. Last year we achieved our Investing in Volunteers Award and this year we want to build on that.
How you can help
You can help to raise enough funds to develop our COVID-19 response to families with the expansion of our activity packs to better meet the needs of the whole family. This will ensure all individuals that we support have something to look forward to and something to support their mental health. No matter how small your donation, it all helps. We have set donation targets but you can put as little as £1 in manually.
With your help you will not only help us to create a nurturing and supportive volunteer wellbeing hub but also help support those families struggling to find someone to support them. A wellbeing hub will also be a safe and secure place where volunteers can bring the family they support, away from the often chaotic home environment it will be a place where they can talk freely and have a quiet area to think.
Having a well-being and training hub will help complement the support already given to our volunteers. Help us to show our appreciation and build an area where volunteers can access the tools needed to better support the families asking for help.
Your generosity could help us develop a new space and build a nurturing environment with comfortable seating, tranquil décor and a bank of resources to complement the support we already give our valued volunteers. Offering additional training through external providers, who are experts in their field will enhance the knowledge of our volunteers and boost the service they already provide to families they support.
Our volunteers recently shared their thoughts about their contribution and personal motivations for volunteering for Home-Start Flintshire. “I love it; I feel like I’ve really found my calling”. “ I get so much out of it. It’s rewarding. The satisfaction of supporting and helping; it’s just such an amazing experience”.
People choose to volunteer with us for a number of reasons; giving something back to their community, making a difference to other people's lives, becoming a valued member of a team, having an impact on the future of children who are supported but also as a route to future employment. Volunteers gain a wealth of experience volunteering for Home-Start Flintshire.
What the families say...…….
Families supported by our volunteers shared their experiences -
"The support has given me more confidence to get out and about and stop being a hermit. The volunteer has given me much more confidence, even simple things like walking over the bridge to take the kids to school. I want to do it now and feel confident to do it. The volunteer helped me to understand the feelings I have are normal and other parents go through exactly the same.”
“Since I’ve had my volunteer, so much has changed in our family, everything is so much better. She really helps me to help myself by just believing in me.”
“Everyone else just tells me what to do. My volunteer doesn’t, she just helps me find out what’s out there to help me, then builds me up to do it myself.”
Previous success stories have seen parents who have been supported themselves, go on to become a Home-Start volunteer and progress to offer support to another family struggling to cope. Seeing a parent go a full circle and gain the satisfaction of supporting someone else is priceless. Ensuring they have an area to come in and receive a quality of care they deserve, will help maintain volunteer's mental health and general wellbeing.
Successfully achieving our target will begin our exciting new project. Dependent on how much we raise will shape how we design our project. We originally set our initial target at £5000, to support us to secure an additional room to dedicate to a new space for our well-being and training hub. We'd now like to use funds towards supporting families and volunteers to better cope during the COVID-19 crisis and then develop our wellbeing hub with any additional funds.
So for now, lets concentrate on building the funding to use where it matters most right now and that's reacting to this crisis and helping those struggling the most.
When we return to a level of normality and funding allowing we can then put our plans in place for the Volunteer Hub. This can then be a great reward for the dedication of our volunteers during this extrememely difficult time. The plan will be to set up a dedicated space with a comfortable seating area so volunteers can relax and either receive support from our dedicated staff team, peer support from other volunteers or bring along the family they are supporting. A calm, relaxed atmosphere will offer a peaceful environment to get the support needed.
We will stock this room with reading and research materials, tablets to access the internet, resources to take out to the families such as craft materials, books and toys and general information to build the volunteers knowledge of what's available to support the families of Flintshire.
Our stretch target of £25,000 lets us think big. We'd love to make this project sustainable and provide the much needed support for our volunteers and families for a longer period of time. Being a small charity is never easy. We are constantly seeking support from funders to maintain the service we provide to families across the whole of Flintshire. Raising £25,000 would allow us to secure the room for a few years and give us time to ensure we are financially viable and can offer the best possible support for our incredible volunteers.
Let's build on our success...
During 2019 Home-Start Flintshire supported 121 families with 315 children - this was with home-visiting support. Visits in the family home are offered on a regular basis for 2-3 hours a week. The support offered is family led and a bespoke package of support offered to each family.
Last year home-visiting volunteers gave nearly 2500 hours of their time to support Flintshire families. Volunteers give their time freely and receive reimbursement of their expenses including travel.
Our volunteers participate in an initial training programme of around 30 hours. This is an informal, discussion based course that prepares our volunteers to support families. Additional training is offered once volunteers are matched with families to support.
We now offer a variety of volunteering roles within Home-Start Flintshire. We have the traditional home visiting volunteers, group support volunteers, event volunteers and trustees. Find out more on our Home-Start Flintshire's Facebook page
Bring a bit of sunshine into the lives of not only our wonderful volunteers but the knock on effect of the support they can then give the children and families who ask for help.
Thanks in advance for any support that you can give. Each pound raised will make a significant difference.
Many thanks from the team at Home-Start Flintshire