News News Stories Home-Start visit from the Earl and Countess of Wessex The Earl and Countess of Wessex learn about essential work done by Home-Start volunteers in Corby Family support charity, Home-Start Corby, welcomed Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex as guests today when they visited to thank volunteers and staff members for the work they do to support local families, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Maggie MacKay, Manager at Home-Start Corby, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Earl and Countess. Their visit means so much to everyone. Our volunteers do so much to support families and it makes a huge difference to our community. It is wonderful to be able to acknowledge the work they do. We are passionate about supporting families and it was lovely to share that during this special visit.” The pair chatted with staff, volunteers and children and paid tribute to the work the charity carries out in the local community, with a special thank you for playing such an important role in the past year. During the pandemic, volunteers from Home-Start Corby have made and distributed support packs to children and their families as a way of providing practical support during lockdown. During their visit Their Royal Highnesses helped to make up packs containing night time routine suggestions, as well as a tooth brush, new pyjamas, bath time bubbles, night time story book, a cuddly toy and a picture for each child to draw called "Pyjamarama- make your own bedtime star". The pair were also presented with a special home-made bag by Hope, aged three, whose family has been supported by Home-Start Corby. After the presentation, The Earl and Countess unveiled a plaque to commemorate their day at Home-Start Corby, which is based in the Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families. Maggie said: “When the world was advised to stay apart during lockdown, our volunteer team pulled together ever closer and ensured the families of Home-Start were not alone. Families were offered emotional and practical support throughout as well as weekly calls and doorstep visits. “Volunteers provided a strong supportive network based on trust and friendship. They celebrated with families when a new baby was born during the pandemic and encouraged families to keep going with home schooling their children. They supported with relationship challenges and the impact of furlough on finances, provided different packs of resources where needed, and they even learned to Zoom and adapt to a digital world. “At Home-Start Corby and nationally we ensure children and their families living in our local communities never feel alone, and that there is always somebody who cares enough to be there when needed.” Home-Start Corby is one of 185 Home Starts across the four nations of the UK and has 13,000 trained volunteers who are paired with a family, to offer practical and emotional support as well as friendship, on a range of issues. Volunteers offer compassionate and non-judgemental support on a range of issues including loneliness, mental health, physical disabilities of a parent or child, financial worries, supporting young mums and the challenges of twins and triplets. Peter Grigg, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK, said: “Home-Start has been supporting families across the UK since 1973 but during the pandemic that support became more vital than ever. To have that hard work recognised today has been fantastic.” The event was also attended by the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Mr James Lowther.