Claudetta[1] was referred to us by her health visitor who felt that she was at risk of post-natal depression. The new twins “Samantha” and “Troy” and their sister “Annabel”, aged 2 rarely left the house.   Claudetta and her husband “Emmanuel” fled civil war in West Africa and experienced homelessness and had moved from hostels to temporary accommodation twice since the birth of the twins. At the initial visit Claudetta was tearful saying she often broke down in front of the children.   Annabel’s behaviour had become more challenging since the twin’s birth and Claudetta was concerned about the upcoming transition to starting nursery.  On interacting with Annabel, we observed that she did not have any recognisable words. The family was matched with a volunteer, Heidi2, who visited weekly and helped make the following differences:


  • Helped mum to wean the twins and give healthier foods, leading to the improved nutrition ensuring growth and development
  • Improved mum’s ability to cope with the children’s behaviour and meet their needs so that she did not develop post-natal depression
  • Introduced the family to new experiences including parks and libraries
  • Supported mum to identify ways to incorporate communication in daily activities to stimulate conversation
  • Accessed a grant for a double pram, which resulted in increased confidence in accessing the community for appointments, activities and day-to-day tasks

Claudetta told us “Home-Start has made a big difference to my emotions. I was really down before and worried a lot. Having someone to talk to helped me so much. We’re now eating healthier and trying new foods. We go to the park and the children light up when Heidi is here. Life would have been miserable without the help. We’re a better family now because I am stronger.”

[1] Names in the case study have been changed and the photograph is not of the family.