Home-Start is a free home visiting service that offers volunteer mentor support to young families in the local community.
The initiative was originally created to support early years outcomes for our children. Specifically, to;
- Provide support to isolated and marginalised parents with young children.
- Improve parenting capacity.
- Encourage better connections with community and services.
- Build stronger relationships with family and extended family.
- Support strong outcomes for children to be ready for school.
Home-Start is an evidence-based international early intervention program first established in the UK over 30 years ago. It is volunteer-based program and works directly in the home with families in the community. Trained volunteers visit families weekly to provide mentoring, emotional support, practical support, positive engagement with children, linkage into services/community for the family.
Volunteer mentors are supported with high quality, in depth training and guidance from the Home-Start Coordinator on a regular basis. When trained, mentors will visit once a week with their allocated family for 2 hours per visit; and provide emotional support (primarily) for the parent/s and some practical support. Volunteers are linked one-to-one with a family that has at least one child under school age, and visit once a week for two hours where they offer:
- Mentoring – listening, emotional support, sharing, role-modelling, bringing in information as needed around the day to day stressors, reminder about self-care, encouraging and normalising being a parent.
- Practical help – attending appointments, playgroup, going shopping or to the library and community activities
- Positive encouragement with the children playing, reading, singing, outdoor activities.
How to get involved
Families from any cultural background with a child under school age. Most commonly parents are exhausted, often isolated or lonely, sometimes feeling overwhelmed. Call the Home-Start Coordinator on, 0428 736 961 or get in touch via a community agency such as Maternal Child Health Nurse, The Family Haven or your local GP.
Volunteers are ideally parents or grandparents themselves or have parenting experiences – they come from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. All new volunteers must attend a preparation course and undergo a screening process before being linked with a family. The course offers new volunteers a chance to gain greater knowledge of their role and increase their confidence in offering mentoring support. Call the Home-Start Coordinator on 0428 736 961 to register your interest.