Local Home-Starts are supporting a growing number of refugee families who’ve escaped conflict or persecution. These families have been through unimaginable pain and hardship. Across the UK our Home-Start network is preparing to support families displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Home-Starts are ensuring they have the essentials they need, are connected to local services and supporting them to create a safe home for both parents and children.

Aamira* was forced to leave her home - a country that has faced years of civil war. As soon as she arrived at Heathrow airport, Aamira was taken to Glasgow where she felt scared and isolated. Home-Start Glasgow North stepped in and connected Aamira to the local community so she could build a safe and happy home for her children.

“I landed at Heathrow pregnant and with two small children. We were all scared and had no idea what to expect. I desperately wanted to be able to provide my children with a safe home. Straight away we were put on a flight to Glasgow, a place I’d never heard of.

In Glasgow I felt very isolated. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t speak the language and I had no idea what to do next. My house officer suggested I called Home-Start Glasgow North. Home-Start came to the house and told me all the ways they could support me. That was two years ago and I’m so very grateful they are still part of our lives. They are our Glasgow family.

My life in Glasgow started with Home-Start. They connected me to the community and soon, with their help, I felt part of that community. They got me on an English course. They helped me get the kids into nursery. They came with me to hospital appointments. I just can’t see how I could have managed without them.

Home-Start noticed the kids didn’t have any winter clothes, so came over with a bag of coats, jumpers and jeans. We had very little but anything we needed Home-Start provided. Soon our stack of clothes and toys built-up thanks to kind donations and gifts.

I was invited to the Thursday Family Group. Thursdays quickly became my highlight of the week. I counted down the days to the next meeting. Mary, who ran the group, is lovely. If you had problems she’d cry with you, if something good happened she’d celebrate with you. I made friends with some of the other mums and it was lovely to see the boys playing with the children.

I can’t tell you how much I missed the Thursday Group when lockdown happened. I was at home alone with three boys. I love to chat and missed adult company so much. At the same time I was scared to leave the house. The boys only have me so I didn’t want to risk getting sick and not being able to care
for them.

Many days I felt lonely, not having another adult to talk to is hard and I desperately missed my family. When Home-Start arrived with a tablet so that I could stay connected I was speechless. The tablet opened up my world. I was able to keep in contact with my family back home, join the Family Zoom Meetings and stay connected to my Home-Start volunteer during all the lockdowns. We’ve had so much fun on it and the kids did their lessons online. It made such a difference to all of us.

Home-Start has helped me build a happy life in Glasgow. The kids love it here and I’m so grateful for all the help we’ve received. One of my Home-Start volunteers speaks Arabic. A few years ago she was in the same position as me. She’s inspired me to make plans about my future. I’m determined to keep improving my English, so that I can volunteer for Home-Start and help other families, like she is doing.

Home-Start was the start of my life. They helped me build a happy home and they connected me to the community. Without them we would be in a very different place.”

*Name has been changed and location removed to protect identity

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