Why Home-Start exists
Because isolation, bereavement, divorce, disability, mental or physical illness, or simply failing to cope as a parent can affect anyone, anywhere. And if they affect a family with young children, they can push that family over the edge. Children can be affected for the rest of their lives. Communities suffer.
What we do
Every week, more than 16,000 trained Home-Start volunteers across the UK offer personalised support for parents with children under five; including reaching out to families at risk of social exclusion, those with children on at risk registers, and those who do not engage with other services.
Each volunteer visits each family for a couple of hours, in the family's own home. The support is confidential and tailored to their specific needs. It is provided for as long as the family needs it, or until the youngest child turns five/starts school.
The Home-Start network
The Home-Start network consists of more than 300 affiliated local Home-Starts and Home-Start UK. Together they form the Home-Start service, delivering one-to-one support, friendship and practical help.
Volunteers are managed and supervised by their local Home-Start, which is in turn supported by Home-Start UK: a community resource with all the benefits of a strong national organisation.
Local Home-Starts (schemes)
Each local Home-Start is an independently registered charity that supports local families in exactly the way that is needed in its local community. Each local Home-Start is set up and run by people from the local area, and is responsible for raising all its own funds. The (usually) small local staff team recruits and trains local volunteers and carefully matches them with local families who need support. Each Home-Start is managed by a board of volunteer trustees. The constitution of a local Home-Start is based on a nationally agreed model, adapted for local circumstances.
All local Home-Starts are supported by Home-Start UK. Home-Start UK is an independently registered charity that provides the support that local Home-Starts need to carry out their family support work through: up-to-date training for staff, volunteers and trustees; information and guidance on governance; legal and human resources advice; help with fundraising; lobbying of national and local government and funders; running volunteer recruitment campaigns; providing national quality standards; supporting community groups to set up new Home-Starts and representing Home-Start on national, regional and local fora.