Presidents and prime ministers are often judged by their achievements in their first 100 days in office. Nearly a year on from joining Home-Start UK as the charity’s Director of Scotland I’m relieved that I’ve been given a bit more time to make my mark. Whether I’ve used this time effectively is for others to assess but in terms of impact I can say that the Home-Start network, its staff, its volunteers and the families they support have been massively motivating to me.

Over the past few months I’ve met many inspiring characters. A freshly trained volunteer, already supporting a family having gained so much from Home-Start during her own struggle with post-natal depression. Vulnerable women, some of whom were asylum seekers facing a highly uncertain future, whose spectacularly well-behaved children played with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when she visited Home-Start Glasgow North.  And the staff, volunteers and brilliant mums and dads who turned out on chilly rainy weekends to wield fundraising buckets and shepherd over-excited young team mascots when Scottish League Cup sponsors Utilita Energy linked us into the world of football.

The challenges faced by so many of the families we support are vast – from poverty pay, insecure work, inadequate benefits, post-natal depression and the often overwhelming challenge of a multiple birth to the simple loneliness and isolation of a young single parent. It is not just stuff I hear about in the news. It is real and happening here in Scotland to people my colleagues meet every day.

We decided to start a Scotland blog to help spread the word about the work we do and help raise awareness of the need for family support and the difference small acts of kindness from well-trained volunteers make to people’s lives.

Our plans are ambitious – we want to up our game when it comes to working with dads, to ensure every one of our 32 independent Home-Start charities in Scotland is fully aware of the needs of refugee and asylum seeking families and we want to attract new supporters – funders and volunteers - so we can grow our network to reach every family needing our help to make Scotland the best place to grow up in. We certainly won’t grow enough to meet that last ambitious goal in the next 100 days but we have to keep trying.

If you are a volunteer, a potential volunteer, a parent who knows what a difference a Home-Start volunteer can make, a donor, an expert or just an interested bystander with a relevant story to tell these blog pages are a space we want to share with you.

If you have an idea for a blog post contact us at [email protected] and we will discuss your proposal and share our guidelines with you.

Shelagh Young is Home-Start UK's Scotland Director