Home-Start Newark training and volunteering can be a stepping stone into further education or help progress a career. Many of our volunteers go on to work as family support workers, social workers and other related jobs in the social care industry, and say that it was becoming a volunteer for Home-Start Newark that made this possible.
Volunteers can make a difference to a family in their community. All parents know that those early years before children go off to school are vital in a child’s life and at Home-Start Newark we believe parents have the key role in creating a secure childhood for their children. It’s just that sometimes they need a bit of help. Many of our volunteers have been supported families themselves. This gives them a real insight into the journey a family will go on with their volunteer. They understand the unique relationship that develops and the bond that grows between them.
Parents we have supported go on to become volunteers because they say they ‘want to give something back’ to the charity that helped them so much.
All volunteers attend the preparation course which they have to complete before they are matched to their first family. Many say this training, (and the ongoing training and support offered by Home-Start Newark), offers a real insight into the issues facing families today. They report that our training helps to increase their confidence and knowledge. Once this is combined with their own parenting experience this gives them a strong foundation on which to build their support for families struggling to cope.
To become a home visiting volunteer with Home-Start Newark, what you need most is parenting experience. Parents supporting parents is what we are all about. None of our volunteers have to have formal qualifications, they just need to have empathy, a non-judgmental attitude and understand that parenting can be hard for many families.
How volunteers can help
Volunteers offer tailor-made, emotional and practical support to families through:
- Help getting to appointments
- Establishing routines
- Accessing benefits, grants and financial support
- Using local services or specialist support
- Getting the family involved with the local community
- Encouraging play and reading with their children
- Listening to the family’s worries or concerns
- Offering a shoulder to cry on
- Sharing your own experiences of parenting and family life
- Being there because you want to – not because someone has ‘sent’ you
- Giving parents a break
- Offering advice
- Providing support, friendship and encouragement
Home visiting volunteers
To be a Home-Start Newark home visiting volunteer, you will need to:
- Be a parent or have parenting experience
- Undergo a criminal record check at enhanced level
- Attend our free volunteer preparation course with other new volunteers. This is normally 40 hours’ training over nine weeks and takes place before you are linked with a family.
- Be able to visit a family at home, once a week, for around two hours, to support them
- Understand that your support for families is completely confidential
- Be able to commit to at least a six month period of support
- Have a non-judgemental attitude and understand about the pressure of bringing up a family
- Volunteers do not need any formal qualifications to support a family. We provide full training and supported for as long you are helping a family.
In return we will offer you:
- An induction to Home-Start Newark Newark’s service
- Regular support and supervision sessions with staff at your local Home-Start Newark
- Paid expenses during training and while you support a family
- An opportunity to gain accreditation towards a formal qualification
- Additional training to supplement your preparation and induction
Trustees are men and women who help guide us and contribute to our leadership and direction so we can manage the day-to-day operations and home-visiting volunteers can get on with the job of supporting families.
In order to be a trustee volunteer, you will be required to:
- Be available to attend a minimum of six meetings per year
- Undergo our selection process
- Commit to the legal and financial responsibilities of the role, as outlined in our constitution
General volunteer support
We also run additional services to support our work, such as play groups, a book library, organising social activities, running outings or Christmas parties, helping with fundraising etc.
There are many opportunities for volunteering within Home-Start Newark, working directly with families or supporting those who do and we welcome any support you can offer us.
Reasons for volunteering
Volunteers give their time for many reasons:
- To make a difference to a family’s life
- Give something back to their local community
- Return the support they once received from Home-Start Newark
- Share a similar experience
- Boost their confidence
- Prepare for returning to work or to progress their career
- Because they have time to spare
Our volunteers get a lot out of helping children and families and often continue volunteering for a number of years.
The difference volunteers make
Our volunteers play a vital role in releasing the potential of parents, and giving children the best possible start in life. Our dedicated volunteers are making a real difference to the lives of children and families in communities across the UK.
Last year more than 90% of the families our volunteers had supported said they felt:
- More involved in their children’s development
- Their children’s emotional and physical health and well-being had improved
- Better able to manage their children’s behaviour
- Less isolated
- Less stressed
- More able to cope with day-to-day running of the house
- They were using local services more