volunteer-imageBeing a Home-Start Southwark volunteer has been very rewarding from the outset. I felt valued by both the organisation and the family I have supported. The initial training course was a comprehensive preparation for taking that first step into a family’s life and home and beginning the journey to support the family to become stronger and happier. I have since completed two more training courses – Bump to Babe and Child Development, both of which have served me well in supporting a family with eight month twins and a two-year-old girl.

Practical help with local services and an imminent house move from temporary accommodation was something that my family needed support with. The new permanent home was in a great location but was on the second floor with no lift. We applied for a grant to get the family a double buggy for the twins which made getting out a lot easier and there was the additional bonus that mum, having been isolated and depressed, felt that her family mattered and people in the wider community cared.

My challenge in making a difference, was ensuring that my support conveyed guidance and encouragement while being mindful that the family were doing their best for their children under difficult circumstances. Being a friend first went a long way in helping mum make positive changes; getting out of the house with three children was a big task so making it worth the huge effort was important.

I have been privileged in sharing some very happy fun times with the family – so much so that we still get together once a month and try and discover something new:  sand last time and, now it’s summer, a paddling pool in Brockwell Park.

Helena Ball

Home-Start Volunteer