Home-Start West Somerset

www.homestart-westsomerset.org.uk/

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Home-Start West Somerset offers free support, friendship and practical help to families with at least one child under seven.

One in four children under five in the UK has a difficult start in life, because their families are under pressure. Yet every child deserves the best possible start; to be loved, to play, to learn and to grow in confidence. Home-start believes that parents play the key role in ensuring that children have a happy and secured childhood, but even the most dedicated parents can face challenges that prevent them from doing all they want to for their children.

Our committed and caring volunteers, who are usually parents themselves, offer friendship and informal support to parents living in West Somerset. They visit families at home for two to three hours each week, and are friendly, approachable people who are relied on and trusted by parents to listen without being judgemental, and to respect the needs of each individual family member. Families are referred by any professional working with them, with the family's consent, or can self refer.

There is no central funding available from the national body so the local scheme has to raise all of its own funds. This creates a significant challenge for the team. We now has 26 home visiting volunteers regularly supporting local families in their own home across West Somerset, as well as 12 volunteer trustees, 6 volunteer advisors, 8 volunteer helpers and 5 part-time paid staff. We run different groups and programmes.

Bump-Start is our innovative early intervention programme using volunteers to support families through pregnancy, the birth experience and during the first year of their baby’s life.

Story-Start encourages families to read, tell stories, sing, rhyme and encourages imagination in a once a month book club held at different locations across West Somerset.

Baby Start is a structured group for parents/carers providing a space for them to enjoy creative time with their baby though sensory, songs and story exploration.

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