Home-Start Surrey provides volunteer support to families with at least one child under 5 who face difficulties which include relationship breakdown,illness or disability of a parent or child, postnatal depression, isolation, multiple birth or any situation in which families with young children are struggling to cope.
Trained volunteers, who are parents themselves, visit families at home for 2-3 hours on a regular weekly basis to offer practical and emotional support, informal parenting advice and introduction to other local resources according to the needs of each family.
We aim to give parents the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life by reducing family stress, strengthening parent/child relationships and enabling families to access other agencies and resources within the community.
Home-Start Surrey is a consortium of 9 Home-Start "schemes" across Surrey, each independently managed and funded but all working to the quality standards of Home-Start UK. The consortium was formed in 2013 to bid for funding through Surrey County Council's procurement system.The schemes have been running for 15+ years and support about 600 families per year. Paid staff recruit, train and supervise volunteers and assess the needs of families. Staff carefully match each family with the volunteer whose skills are best suited to meeting the family's needs and monitor the progress made by families and volunteers. Staff liaise with other agencies as necessary and work closely with local Children's Centres.
Volunteers undertake a 40-hour Preparation Course before beginning home-visiting. The course covers topics such as child protection, managing behavioural problems and ideas for play. Volunteers encourage a safe and healthy lifestyle, early literacy, fun and enjoyment in families who face difficulties and accompany families who would not otherwise go to parks, libraries and group activities to widen children's range of experience and provide opportunities for them to socialise. The activities of the organisation are recorded on Home-Start's monitoring and evaluation system.
Home-Start Surrey is partly funded by Surrey County Council. Individual schemes raise additional funds by holding fundraising events and by applying to local groups and businesses and national charitable trusts.