In the 50 years since Home-Start was founded, an incredible 1.5 million children, and their parents, have been supported to overcome challenges and build a brighter future.

Home-Start support is made up of a myriad of little moments that matter.

Below, three supported families share their stories about the power of little moments that were made possible by Home-Start.

Power of little moments logoLittle moments for a child can be a hug, a bedtime story, family dinner time or sharing a joke that helps them to feel loved and safe. These moments add up and become the foundation for their future health and happiness.

Little moments for a parent include being listened to, not feeling judged and having someone who takes time just for them, helps build self-esteem and confidence, and enables them to be more present for their children.


“I wish my Home-Start volunteer could see how she changed my life” says Sharena Shiv.

I called our Home-Start volunteer 'Grandma Paula'. She didn’t want my early tragic experience of losing my mum to hold me back. She was an English teacher, and soon we fell into a regular routine of our own little reading classes. I’d been falling behind at school, but she inspired me to stay focused. 

When I heard I’d been accepted into Cambridge University I deeply wished I could have called 'Grandma Paula' to tell her. Looking back now I can see that having someone who believes in you at a young age makes such a difference to your future self.”

Power of little moments Home-Start campaign

“Every family having a Home-Start volunteer would make the world a better place.” says Ben Scanlan

“When my wife Sara went back to work and I had the twins on my own I started to struggle. At the same time in the back of my mind I was thinking- I’m a psychotherapist, I should know what I’m doing. 

I was totally on my own and winging it

When I was matched with Kristin, my Home-Start volunteer, suddenly I didn’t feel like I was totally on my own and winging it. Kristin is really good at talking to the twins and showing interest in the most mundane things I’d typically tend to ignore. Watching Kristin has opened my eyes to a different way of engaging with them.

From my work with patients I know how much parents can get it wrong. I honestly think every family should be offered a Home-Start volunteer. The difference that would make to people, both now and also to a future generations would be huge. Every family having a Home-Start volunteer would make the world a better place.”

“Having my volunteer gave me the space to be a more engaged mum” says Tatiana Jere.

Mum of two Tatiana Jere was finding it increasingly hard to find space for these precious moments with her boys. Tatiana’s youngest son, Khamani, 2 has Norrie disease, a rare eye disorder that leads to blindness soon after birth.

At just seven months old Khamani had lost 80 per cent of his sight. Though the damage was irreparable, surgeons were able to stop it getting worse, saving around 20 per cent of his vision.

I felt so guilty

Tatiana explains. “Khamani’s disability makes life harder to manage and affects all of us. Getting out with the kids, keeping on top of the housework, managing Khamani’s appointments, cooking meals or spending time with my older son Micai, 6, when Khamani refuses to be put down is tough. Most of the time Micai would go to our bedroom where he’d sit on his tablet for hours as all my focus was on Khamani. I felt so guilty.”

Tatiana shared with Home-Start Wandsworth how difficult she found it to split her time between the boys, and how she was worried Micai was missing out. She was soon matched with Cynthia, a home visiting volunteer.

Cynthia recognised it was dinner time where she could make the biggest difference. So, on Wednesdays, after I picked Micai up from school, Cynthia makes snacks with Micai and helps him with his homework. I’ve always felt so guilty not being able to spend time helping him with his homework, so it took a weight off my mind that Cynthia was able to do this for him.

It was lovely to see how much Micai loved the attention she gave him. As a mum I don’t want our circumstances to limit Micai in any way. I want him to have all the opportunities other children have".

The power of a little moment that turned my bad day into a great one

"Two weeks ago I’d not slept. As soon as Cynthia saw me she told me to sit down and that she was going to get me a drink. No one had ever told me to sit down before. When I sat down my day went from bad to great. We are so lucky to have Cynthia in our life. Also the boys now have a mum who feels more confident, independent and less stressed and anxious.  The difference she makes to my family is huge.

I can be having a bad week and then I’ll think Cynthia will be here on Wednesday and my anxiety goes down. I literally feel it. She takes the pressure off and that makes me a more engaged and happy mum.”

By giving Tatiana some space to breath, through friendship, advice and practical help, Cynthia has been there for all those important little moments. And it’s these little moments that have helped Tatiana give her two boys Khamani and Micai a better future.

I can't believe how far I've come

I’d not be where I am today without Home-Start. By the time they got involved I’d lost all confidence in myself. I was struggling with Khamani’s disability and I was still coming to terms with being a single parent. I was feeling very low. When I look back I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I no longer feel guilty the children are missing out because they now have everything they need and more.”  

Power of little moments logo

What happens when the little moments are lost?

While we want to celebrate 50 years of the Home-Start movement we have to be honest about the situation facing local Home-Starts today. Funding cuts, the global pandemic, limited capacity and the cost of living crisis are leaving scars.

Across our network we are having to turn away one in four families. That’s thousands of families who are at risk of losing those special moments that are so important to a child’s development.

Donate to support more families

Read next: Alice's story - Finding a safety net in the Cost-of-Living crisis