Home Start needs more help for families

PUBLIC spending cuts are forcing young families in need of help to turn more and more to voluntary groups for support.

Now an appeal has gone out to try to find more people, particularly in the Diss area, who can devote time to those who are having some kind of difficulty in their lives.

Home Start, Breckland and South Norfolk, is running a training programme for volunteers, which begins in Diss at the end of this month.

The organisation’s senior co-ordinator Natalie Spurdens, told the Diss Express: “It is quite a unique service. We need parents or grandparents who can give some of their time to spend with vulnerable families.”

Volunteers have to be parents or grandparents themselves, said Natalie, who has three children of her own, aged 13, eleven and nine.

Training courses begin on Thursday, February 28, and run for ten weeks, from 10am to 2.30pm. Families and helpers are carefully matched so that two to three hours a week can be given to helping others.

Home Stars covers a wide area, centred on Attleborough, but Diss has the greatest need at the moment. Financial issues have added to the needs of young families but they may also include many other situations such as isolation, bereavement, illness, disability - or those who are just finding parenting a struggle.

Families are directed towards Home Start from a number of groups such as asocial workers, health visitors or referring themselves.

In this area it has some 35-40 volunteers giving up their time.

But it is now experiencing more and more referrals and so needs to train more volunteers.

It is now in its 26th year of supporting families in this area. Its courses will also be held in the Spring and October.

Home Start has to make sure that vulnerable families are always matched with the most appropriate volunteer and attention is given to assessing people before they go on courses.

For more information contact Home Start on 01953 459892 or via email: Homestartbsn63:greenbeen.net