Milestone for Wellingborough charity which has helped hundreds of families

Home-start Wellingborough's scheme manager Janet Gwilliam Sanders and co-ordinator Tracey Witham
Home-start Wellingborough's scheme manager Janet Gwilliam Sanders and co-ordinator Tracey Witham

A charity which has helped make a difference to the lives of more than 1,000 families is celebrating it’s 21st birthday.

On May 1, 1995, the family support charity Home-Start began its work with families living in the borough of Wellingborough.

Since then, its team of home-visiting parent volunteers has been able to provide support to more than 1,100 families with 3,500 children between them.

The work of Home-Start Wellingborough & District has seen it grow from starting with just a small grant, a borrowed typewriter and a group of four newly-trained volunteers to having a town centre office which is now a constant hub with people coming and going.

The current team of more than 60 volunteers are always calling by to collect essential items for families or to tell of the support they are providing.

Supported families also visit to share their problems, tell of their unexpected achievements or just have a cuppa.

Scheme manager Janet Gwilliam Sanders said: “Having a young family can be a demanding time and if unexpected things come along - bereavement, illness, depression, addiction, job loss or other issues - life can get unbearable and asking for help is one of the strongest things a parent can do.

“This is where our volunteers step in.

“They give their time because they want to, not because they have to; this creates a special relationship with parents who are struggling, and makes Home-Start support both successful and invaluable.

“Volunteers provide a lifeline by just doing simple everyday things like helping families go to the park or keep appointments, assisting with complicated paperwork or by just providing a breathing space for a parent during a hectic unmanageable day.”

During the past 21 years, Home-Start Wellingborough & District has been able to offer support to families in the area with young children no matter what their circumstances.

Children can miss out during difficult times so when funding has allowed, special support groups and play sessions have been provided.

The annual coach trip and summer scheme have often proved to be the highlights of the children’s summer and the Christmas dinner and distribution of gifts provide priceless moments.

However, Home-Start’s own research has shown that it is not just the families who benefit from their association with the charity but the volunteers do too.

The charity had 12 volunteers in its first year, but during the past three years there has been at least 65 volunteers providing home-visit support every week.

Anyone who would like to join the Home-Start Wellingborough & District team can go along to its next volunteer training course, which starts on Wednesday, May 25.

For more information call 01933 272749 or go to www.homestartwellingborough.org.uk.