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When is a family eligible?

F%20DSC_1331_pakistani_mum_son_daughter_fruitA family is eligible for our services if they live in the London Borough of Southwark; have at least one child under the age of five; are experiencing difficulties and have given their consent to having Home-Start support.


Who can refer a family?

Professionals and practitioners (Health Visitor, midwife, GP, teacher, Social worker), family members or friends and parents can refer themselves.


How to make a referral?

Whether you are a practitioner, a family member, a friend or are self-referring, you can call the office and speak to one of our co-ordinators (02077377720).

The co-ordinator will ask you some questions and explain how we may be able to support you or the family you wish to refer. If you decide to go ahead, a referral form will need to be completed, following which a co-ordinator will arrange a home visit to discuss the referral further. The home visit will also be an opportunity for the family to ask any questions they may have.

If you are referring a relative, a friend or are self-referring, we will need the details of a professional the referred family is or has workedg with in the past, such as a Health Visitor, Midwife, or other health and social care professional.

Download our  Referral Form here. 

*Note: We can only offer support once a referral from has been completed.


What do we need to know about a family?

We will need to know everything that is relevant:

  • Why you feel the family needs Home-Start support and whether there are any health and safety issues.
  • whether the parent(s) and/or child(ren) have special needs, are registered disabled, are on the Child Protection Register or any Child Protection issues that may have emerged.
  • which other agencies may be working with the family and what other help the family may be getting (eg from family or friends).
  • Whether there may be any health and safety issues for the family or the volunteer.
  • As a worker we need to know if you close a case, go on extended leave, another worker replaces you etc.

Within the Home-Start ethos of openness and honesty, we generally share with the volunteer all the referral details. We believe that this helps the volunteer give the most effective support. The volunteer respects confidentiality (see below).


WD%20DSC_1040_volunteer_asian_child_special_needs_readinghat happens after a referral is made?

  • If there are any further queries, a Coordinator may ring you.
  • We aim to contact the family within 2 weeks of the referral to arrange a home-visit by a coordinator.
  • In exceptional circumstances a joint visit with the referrer could be made.
  • The purpose of the visit is for the coordinator to independently assess the family’s needs and to explain more fully about our service.
  • At a weekly team meeting the coordinators discuss which volunteers are available and which might be most suitable for each family.
  • We arrange a further visit to introduce the family and volunteer, agree on how the volunteer will support the family, when the visits will take place, when a review will be held etc.
  • We will inform you when we have matched a volunteer to the family and when our service with the family comes to an end.



Find our more about how we match volunteers and families

Read our Confidentiality and Referral Policy


Please note:
Home-Start is not a crisis intervention service and we are not able to respond at very short notice.
If you are unsure whether a referral is suitable, please call us and our co-ordinators will be happy to help.