Information For Families



How to refer a family member, a friend or yourself?

If you are a relative or a friend to a family you wish to refer for our services, or if you wish to refer yourself, we will need the details of a professional the referred family is working with or has worked with recently, such as a GP, Health Visitor, Midwife, or an other health and social care professional.

A family is eligible to be referred if they:

  • live in the London Borough of Southwark, or Lewisham (SE4, SE8, SE14, SE23, SE26);
    please get in touch if you would like to discuss a Lewisham referral outside of these postcode areas;

  • are in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy or have one or more children under the age of 5 (the child cannot be in full time education);

  • are experiencing difficulties;

  • have given their consent to having Home-Start support.

If you have some questions about how we may be able to support you (if self-referral) or the family you wish to refer, please get in touch.

If you wish to proceed with the referral, please download and complete the referral form for Southwark or Lewisham. Please return it to If you prefer, you can also print the form out and send it to our office address: Canopi, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.


What happens after a referral is made?

  • Additional information request - if there are any further queries, a Family Support Coordinator may get in touch with you;

  • Initial visit - we aim to contact the family within 2 weeks of the referral to arrange a home-visit by a Family Support Coordinator. The purpose of the visit is for the Family Support Coordinator to discuss and assess the family’s needs and to see how best we can support them. This is also a time used to explain more about our services and an opportunity for the family to ask any questions they may have;

  • Matching - at a weekly team meeting the Family Support Coordinators discuss which volunteers are available and which might be most suitable for each family;

  • Matching visit - 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;

  • Further support and supervision - our team will provide support throughout the whole time while the volunteer works with the family.

Volunteers offer emotional and practical support which is tailored to what the parent decides would be helpful. We understand that needs can vary from week to week so our support is flexible and responsive and can include:

  • Having someone to talk to

  • Support to leave the house to get out and about

  • Helping and playing with the child

  • Help to find out about and access other local amenities and services

  • Encouragement, motivation, and reassurance

  • Help with budgeting, benefits and filling out applications

  • Support with household routines/to get the house ready for a new baby

  • Improve confidence and self esteem

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