A joint initiative with the John Lewis Partnership has enabled a new online training programme, called 'Happy Healthy Home' to be developed for Home-Start volunteers so that they can support families with healthy eating, sleeping and finances. 

With one in four Home-Start families living in debt, having financial concerns and living on a low income, family finances is a hugely important area for the families Home-Start supports. Just like physical and mental health, looking after your money supports parents’ overall wellbeing.

We know that for too many families, worries about the household income isn’t always about skills in planning and budgeting. Sometimes, when the income just isn’t enough, access to support to help ensure families maximise their income and get the best advice is most important.

Online learning on how to create a budget, boost income and improve financial wellbeing is now available to Home-Start volunteers through the Healthy Happy Home programme. Launched last spring, with modules also on healthy eating and sleep, the Healthy Happy Home programme is a joint initiative with the John Lewis Partnership.

Biggest issues families face

The content is designed to help volunteers to further support the positive mental and physical health of the families they work with. Last year we asked our Home-Start volunteers about some of the challenges facing families. The biggest issues volunteers said families faced were around healthy eating, sleep and finances – three areas that lay the foundations for a healthy, happy family life.

The financial wellbeing modules could not have come at a more pressing time for families. From budgeting to saving, borrowing to setting goals, the modules will provide volunteers with lots of tools and tips to improve their financial knowledge. Created specifically for Home-Start volunteers by The Money Charity, they provide learning and practical tips on managing household and family finances.

Financial advice

For the Finance Module, Rob Swinscote, Trading Manager at John Lewis Partnership has drawn on his 20 years of experience in finance to explain the various aspects of financial wellbeing, and to demonstrate how to create and monitor a budget.

Karima El Haddad, senior family support coordinator from Home-Start Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham said: “Millions of people are gripped by poverty and sadly this number is growing. Many of these are working, but still face financial worries.  While Home-Start continues to advocate and call for change to prevent families living in poverty, the content of these modules is intended to help everyone maximise their household income and offer practical guidance that may be useful.”

Home-Start volunteer Alketa Aykac was keen to learn about managing money to share the information with the mum she is supporting. She said: “The mum I’m supporting is struggling with money, and I fear this winter that’s only going to get worse. I’ve never done a budget before, or anything like that so it’s wonderful to have access to these modules so that I can support her.

As a single mum I don’t have time to read lots of information on websites to try and find things that may be useful. So to have everything pulled together, especially for Home-Start volunteers who are supporting families, is so helpful to us and to the families we support.

Sadly the reality is many families just don’t have enough to live on. I wish we could do more, but certainly having access to ways to help families with money issues is very helpful, and I’ll be using what I’ve learned to help the family I’m supporting gain a little more control over their money if they feel that’s helpful to them.

Financial worries can be stressful and when that happens, it can impact many aspects of family life. Through our Healthy Happy Home programme we hope we can take away some of the stress and enable parents to be in the best possible position to give their children a healthy happy home".