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Home-Start charity in plea for support

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Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester, the local charity which has supported over 600 families in the past year alone, is launching a new membership scheme hoping that 25 local businesses and companies will come forward in its 25th anniversary year to help keep its vital work going.

Gloucestershire-based Clear Future Financial Planners is delighted to announce it’s the first business to become a Business Friend of Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester, believing this is an ideal way for local businesses to give support to their local community. 

Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester’s aim is to see every parent living in Stroud and Gloucester getting the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life. It believes passionately in early intervention and a strengths-based approach to helping families overcome any challenges they face, and so parents receive the support they need to be the best they can be.

During 2022-23, the following projects provided support to 683 families in Stroud and Gloucester:

Home visiting – weekly visits by volunteers to support families

Bump-Start programme ante-natal groups

Best-Start programme post-natal groups

Mothers in Mind (MiMs) perinatal mental health programme

Arkell Family Fun stay and play group for families

Dad Matters Gloucestershire support group to help dads build positive relationships with their families

On average, a family uses Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester’s support for a just under a year to overcome their problems and reach a point when they can confidently support themselves once more. Ri Ferrier, CEO of Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester, says the charity is experiencing increased challenges that are stretching its resources and funding. 

“The cost-of-living crisis has made life extra tough for many families, especially in sectors where income and job stability are unpredictable. The extra strain this creates leads to more families seeking out our help. Yet the same situation means we’re having to fight harder to obtain funding as all charities are needing more money to help more people. Since Covid, it’s predicted that 1 in 4 charities will close because of the increased funding demands yet increasing funding scarcity.”

She continued: “Local businesses could play such an important role in helping families at this tough time. Obviously, they can’t work with the families themselves, but if they join us as a Business Friend, they’ll be funding our volunteers and staff to use their skills to directly help families. We still need to raise £150,000 to keep our services running during 2024.” 

To launch the new scheme, local company Clear Future Financial Planners has become the first Business Friends of Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester. 

Michelle Morgan, Financial Planner for Clear Future Financial Planners, said “We’re absolutely delighted to have the honour of becoming the first Business Friend. The importance of the early years in a child’s development are often overlooked by society yet there’s plenty of research showing these years play a vital in developing a child’s skills and confidence which will affect the rest of their lives.”  

Michelle continued: “People think financial planning is just about money and figures. But it’s really about looking at a person’s whole life to ensure they and their family have what they need to be secure, to thrive and to build a future around their priorities – money is simply a tool to achieve this. Clear Future Financial Planners helps with the financial side, which is one side of the coin, so we wanted to support Home-Start Stroud & Gloucester as it so effectively helps with the other side of the coin – the emotional and practical side of family life.” 

The financial support from Clear Future Financial Planners, and other Business Friends, could help one or more families to receive the support they need for a year, and contribute towards the cost of running the existing, successful projects. For example:

  • A home visit to a family costs £38.
  • A family attending the Mothers in Mind sessions, a peer support mental health group, costs £14 per mother/session.
  • Participation in the Dad Matter’s groups for fathers costs £17 per father/session.

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