Family Support Volunteers

Home-Start Arun, Worthing & Adur

Register your Interest

Do you have parenting experience (as a mum, dad, grandparent, carer or nanny) or have you been a teacher? Can you empathise with families with young children  Are you looking for an ongoing volunteer role? Can you spare 2 hours a week?  If so, we'd love to hear from you. 

About Home-Start

Home-Start is a charity which believes the best start in life for a child begins at home with their family. To us, every family is special and our volunteers work with families, with at least one child under 5, in their own homes to help them cope when times get tough. We believe strong families raise happy children, helping them grow up to be the better parents of tomorrow. 

Every year we support around 200 families and 450 children with the help of 80 amazing volunteers. 

What a family support volunteer does

Our families face a variety of challenges including; post-natal depression, isolation, physical and mental health problems, disability, bereavement, job losses, financial worries or relationship difficulties - all of which can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of their children.

With your knowledge and experience as a mum, dad, grandparent, carer or nanny, you could be the vital support a family needs to get them through a difficult time and make a big difference to their lives.

Once you've completed your initial training, we match you with a family. 

In non-COVID times, our volunteers usually visit a parent in their home once a week for a couple of hours. How they help is really down to the needs of the family. Some might need a empathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to have a laugh with. Others may need help keeping appointments or accessing local services and 'connecting' with their local community. Our volunteers can provide an extra pair of hands to help people cope with everyday parenting situations, or practical help with activities like playing or reading stories. Home-Start's approach is very personal and friendly and this often reassures parents that what they're going through is not unusual, that they are not alone.

Adapting to COVID restrictions

Of course, since COVID started, we've had to adapt our services, depending on the nature of the restrictions. We are currently offering a menu of options to make sure all our families are getting support. These include :

Buggy Walks - currently under review due to latest lockdown. 
Telephone Support - suitable for volunteers who are unable to access a family's home.
Video Support - via Zoom or Microsoft Teams for those families equipped and willing to connect this way. 
Webchat - supported by our staff. 
Children's activities, Food Bank Parcels and deliveries of 'packs of joy' with lots of items to help families keep children entertained during lockdowns. 
Home-Visiting - currently suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Family Groups - currently suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Our volunteers will be able to get back to home-visiting and group support once COVID restrictions allow.

Volunteer training

If you join us now while COVID restrictions are in place, we will train you initially to be a telephone befriender for a family. This involves 4 x 2 hour sessions.   When restrictions are eased and allow us to get back to visiting families in their homes and running groups in the community, we will offer you top-up training if you'd like to offer face-to-face support. 

Our training is designed by family practitioners and experts in the industry and covers essential information including:

  • The role of a Home-Start volunteer
  • Values, attitudes and inclusivity
  • Confidentiality
  • Listening and communication
  • Meeting the needs of families and children
  • Safeguarding

Once you're volunteering, our friendly staff are in regular contact to give you the support you need to make a difference to families and enjoy your experience.


Skills

The only real 'qualification' you need to become a Home-Start volunteer is experience of bringing up children - as a mum, dad, grandparent, carer or nanny.

You will be friendly and understanding and have a practical approach to problems.

You don't judge people, you accept them for what they are and then strive to support them as they try to give their children the best possible start in life.

You will receive full training on one of our preparation courses, and have an enhanced DBS check, before being carefully matched with families where your own set of experiences and skills can help the most.




Benefits

Our volunteers tell us that the best thing about volunteering for Home-Start is the satisfaction they get from helping a family support their children to thrive. 

Volunteers also really value the high quality training we offer - not only when they first join us but throughout their time as a Home-Start volunteer. 

We are a very friendly bunch! There are lots of opportunities to join in fun social and fundraising activities and make new friends. 

Practical Considerations

Once volunteers get back to home-visiting, it is generally helpful to have access to a car or bike to get to families' homes. But don't worry if you don't have your own transport, we would still like to hear from you. 

When do I need to be available?

Details Volunteers visit or phone families during the day. There is no evening or weekend volunteering.
Morning Afternoon Evening
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

Where does this role take place?

Adur and Worthing

Register your Interest

  • Details
  • Disabled Access
    Our family groups are held in Children and Family Centres which are accessible
  • Equal Opportunities Policy or Statement
  • Expenses
    All travel and phone expenses are reimbursed
  • Health and Safety
  • Induction
  • Insurance Cover for Volunteers
    You are required to inform your car insurance company that you are volunteering
  • Other
    A successful enhanced DBS check is mandatory
  • Suitable for 13 - 16 years
  • Suitable for 16 - 18 years
  • Suitable for a group of volunteers
  • Suitable only for (e.g. 18+, LGBT, BAME, Women only)
  • Support on Offer
    Regular support and supervision is mandatory
  • This role is adaptable for different abilities
  • Training
    Currently Telephone Befriender training is offered - 2 hours per day over 4 days. Top-up training will be given to those who wish to home-visit once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Many other learning opportunities are offered.