Meet Some of Our Volunteers

 

Isobel O’Brian

Judith Cullam
“I came to Home-Start interested in helping where I felt both comfortable and could be of real help to someone who may have experienced the same difficulties as I did when I moved to England with my family. My children were aged one and two, I knew no one and spent long periods of the day on my own. I wish I had known about Home-Start then as it would have been a place of great solace and comfort to me, knowing someone would be there to offer support and companionship to a parent with young children struggling with some of life’s daily challenges.
“Becoming a volunteer was a highly rewarding process. I felt like I had really achieved something once I completed the training, which I hadn’t felt in a long time. We trained in a group, which meant we got to know the other volunteers well and didn’t all feel so ‘new’ each time we came back. I learned to listen but also to speak up when I didn’t know something; the facilitators showed great patience for our endless questions and listened to every single concern voiced all too often by us budding volunteers. They provided thoughtful and intuitive answers, time and time again.
“The family I volunteered with was a mother with two young children. We played, walked, talked and went about her daily life for a couple of hours once a week. You cannot know the intimacy and privilege of being allowed into someone’s home until you are sitting in their kitchen with them and they are talking, sharing their worries and struggles with you, a virtual stranger. It is a privilege I will not forget and did not take lightly. Thank God for Home-Start who had prepared me so well!
“I am now in my second year of training, studying to be a counsellor, working in a placement at a counselling centre seeing clients each week. It was my work as a volunteer for Home-Start, which laid the boundaries of trust, care, and support that secured my place as a counsellor-in-training.”

Twanna Allen

Twanna Allan

Twanna found out about Home-Start though a friend’s recommendation. She is very interested in empowering women and supporting families in need and so joined in January 2013. Since attending her preparation course Twanna has supported two families for a total of eight months.

“To be able to support others going through difficult situations is a rewarding experience.

“The training Home-Start provides helped me with my personal development because now I have a better knowledge of new areas like perinatal care, budgeting, domestic violence, and income generation. My last training was around stress management which I found very useful to apply to my own day to day life as well.

“Home-Start is a great charity to volunteer with, the training is great and staff are very helpful and supportive. They’ve equipped me with skills and knowledge to be able to support parents and families and I’ve learnt so much over the past two years.”

Twanna also said she was very honoured and grateful to have received the Southwark Start Award as it made her feel appreciated!