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Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester is offering free training courses for volunteers, starting on April 21st and running through school term time.

The charity recruits and trains volunteers to support parents with pre-school children.

“We provide one-to-one home visiting and support groups to families in situations as diverse as isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness, disability, mental health issues or who are just finding parenting a struggle on a day-to-day basis,” said Shelley James of Home-Start.

“Our aims and objectives are to increase the confidence and the independence of families by offering support, friendship and practical assistance as well as visiting families in their own homes, where the dignity and identity of each adult and child can be respected and protected.

“Our other objectives are encouraging parents’ strength and emotional well-being and resilience for the ultimate benefit of their children; encouraging families to widen their network of support and to use effectively the services available within the community. Also, providing group support for parents / mothers who are suffering from mental health issues and deliver ante and post-natal groups for vulnerable families where there is a gap in current provision. 

“Last year we celebrated our 20th Anniversary of supporting families locally. The scheme has grown over the years and currently employs 11 members of staff,” added Shelley.

The benefits have been tangible. One parent said: “It almost saved my life as I was in a bit of a mess – some days I would wake up and think I just can’t do this but if it was Tuesday I would think I can do this because my volunteer is coming.”

Another parent expressed their appreciation for Home-Start: “Thank you so much for all that you do. You provided me with the kindest, loveliest volunteer. She has supported me through my twin journey. Always a smiling interested face every week which I looked forward to seeing. She helped me with the twins so I could feel in control of my house again, achieving day to day jobs that were impossible without help.

“Not only that but being a listening ear and most importantly becoming my friend. We taught each other so much and for you all at Home-Start I will be eternally grateful, without the volunteers help once a week I would not have been able to breastfeed twins to 11 months so I also thank you for that as well. You are all superstars, thank you for putting special people in our lives.”

To be a Home-Start volunteer, all you need is parenting experience and be able to spare two to three hours a week to visit a family in their home. Full training is provided and support is given throughout by a Family Co-ordinator.

To request an application pack email: enquiries@homestartsd.org or call 01453 297470.

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