Volunteer Comment Wall What does Home-Start volunteer mean to you? For Volunteers Week 2021, we asked people to post on our wall telling us what 'Home-Start volunteer' means to them. The comment wall is now closed, but you can read some of the lovely testimonies below. "We have no family to help, and Denise has stepped in to become someone very special in our lives, our little girl regularly asks for her and gets excited when she is coming, often standing at the window looking out for her. Thank you so much Denise for giving a very tired mummy a rest and for all the lovely walks that you take little pickle on x". Betty, Home-Start Butser "Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help”…. Jenny is a wonderful person with a great heart and we can’t imagine our lives without her. There are no words to describe how lucky and thankful we are for everything she has done for us". Alex, Home-Start Butser "Karen has helped and supported me in so many ways because of her I’m more confident as a mummy, she has been my rock I couldn’t thank her enough for what she’s done!" Tory, Home-Start Butser "Amanda has been with us through so much and has been a rock to me. My boys adore her, she always makes them feel safe and happy. I feel like I can talk to her about anything and she will always listen and help. I truly have the best volunteer ever!" Faye, Home-Start Butser "My volunteer Andrea is completely amazing and selfless. Giving her time to spend it with myself and my daughter and being a listening ear, is something I will be always grateful for. She always remembers things that I’ve told her and takes an interest and that means a lot to me. Thank you so much x". Ellie, Home-Start Butser "I am constantly amazed by the incredible energy and commitment that our volunteers bring to the families they support. Simply fantastic!" Nikki, Home-Start Erewash "Having been a Home-Start volunteer myself when my youngest child started school, Home-Start will always have a special place in my heart. I now work for Home-Start Guildford and have the pleasure of dealing with wonderful home-visiting volunteers and hard-working volunteer trustees all the time. They are all selfless, kind-hearted and dedicated to helping local families be the best they can be. Thank you for being the #HeartOfHomeStart". Lelani, Home-Start Guildford "In 2002 I became a Home-Start volunteer. After years of being in an abusive marriage I wanted to make a difference and help others. Being a volunteer is one of the most rewarding roles I have ever undertaken. Two years later I began working for Home-Start part time. 19 years on, I manage Home-Start Merton. I am so proud of our volunteers and proud of the positive impact we have on families everyday". Sharon, Home-Start Merton "Going to a Pink Group as we called it, was a lifeline. Having twins often meant being pulled in separate directions at regular family groups. However, going to the Home Start group meant I could get quality playtime with each child and not worry that the other twin was in danger as the volunteers were keeping an eye on them. Being a multiple mum brings many obstacles and the volunteers definitely supported me to enable me to feel at ease in the environment. Thank you xx". Helen, Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur "Every week I am amazed by our kind, caring, funny, ingenious, loving and dedicated volunteers. They reach difficult places and bring light to dark times. Thank you isn't a big enough word for all that they do!" Bren, Home-Start Erewash "When I think of Home-Start, I see a family home that needs a little bit of scaffold to help support it. That scaffolding may be tall for some and short for others. Home-Start volunteers provide that scaffold of support to families by being there consistently each week probably feeling a lot of the time that they are not doing very much. However week by week, visit by visit that scaffolding becomes a little smaller as families overcome challenges and difficulties, having that volunteer beside them every step of the way". Sharon, Home-Start Norfolk "Our lovely Home-Start Volunteers bring the desire to help others, along with their very varied life experiences, to provide very real and meaningful support to families when they need it most. We thank you all for your generosity and dedication to the families you support". Rosanne, Home-Start Norfolk "Volunteers really are the backbone of Home-Start's delivery, time is the most precious gift you can give and that in itself sums up how amazing volunteers are! We could never be without you. Thank you for all that you do". Shannon, Home-Start Norfolk "I believe our volunteers never really appreciate the full help they have given a family during a difficult time in their parenting journey. Your compassion, kindness, humour and willingness to walk alongside parents, when they need someone the most, astounds me and so often makes such a lasting difference on the lives of the whole family. You are all truly amazing thank you, thank you, thank you". Natalie, Home-Start Norfolk "I was a volunteer. The training is fab and it really helped me through my own mental health struggles at the time. I loved helping families and spending time with kids. The experience helped my own family too. We are much happier and healthier and I know Home-Start had a big part to play in that journey. I will be eternally grateful for the experience and when I find the time I would definitely volunteer again ❤ x". Ashley, via Facebook "I had a volunteer in Nottingham, she brought a breath of fresh air every time she came and helped me and my twins. Thanks to her we got out on walks, went to baby massage, took my girls to the park, or sometimes just stayed in and had the time to fold the washing. My volunteer, became one of my closest friends and we still meet now (when we can with covid etc)". Rachel via Facebook "My volunteer has given me a friend who I can talk to about most things going on in my life that I can’t talk about with friends and family. To be able to talk about which directions I can go in order to make decisions for me with my best interests. I am forever grateful for her and I really don’t know what I would do without her". Tegan via Facebook "I have been a volunteer for 21 years. I’m now 86 and hope to continue. It’s so worthwhile". Edna "Superstars! In the last 6 years I've worked with the most amazing dedicated volunteers that have made such a noticeable difference to families lives". Michelle, Home-Start Slough "I'm a new volunteer and so far to me it's like one big squad of Mums and Dads lending a hand to other Mums and Dads who could do with the support network, so far I'm loving it". Mumma_to_midwife on Instagram "Home-Start Perth and Kinross wouldn't be what we are today without the dedication, empathy and hard work shown by all our home-visiting and Breast Buddies volunteers. I am constantly humbled by the hard work and passion for helping families shown by our volunteers. You are all total superstars!" Jill, Home-Start Perth and Kinross "A friend of mine works as a part of Home-Start. When I had my baby I was totally lost with no relatives around and the Covid restrictions in place made it worse. I was totally relieved to talk to someone whom I never thought I would have much to talk. She was such a relief and couldn't thank enough for her timely guidance and kind attitude. I am at ease because I know if I am stuck she is there. Best wishes for everyone in the group". Kavya, Home-Start Oxford "Helping hand and real comfort zone". Kavya, Home-Start Oxford "I am the Admin officer for Home-Start Perth and Kinross and I see the amazing work our volunteers do every day for families. I see the dedication of the volunteers and I get to follow their journey from start to finish with the families, and see what a difference they make to the families lives". Chirsty, Home-Start Perth and Kinross "A huge thank you to all of our hardworking, enthusiastic and inspiring volunteers. Whether it's offering one-to-one support to families helping with our groups, working in our shop or organising fundraising events and activities, every one of our volunteers is helping to change lives and build better futures for children. Without them, there would be no Home-Start!" Eleanor, Home-Start Aberdeen "After 20 years working alongside Home-Start volunteers I can honestly say their care, compassion and commitment still blow me away every week. Delivering the volunteer preparation courses is also the favourite part of my job!" Judith, Home-Start Sutton "As Manager of Home-Start Surrey Heath, I am blessed to work alongside our volunteers, who often go above and beyond what is expected of them. The essential work they do for families is invaluable. To all Home-Start volunteers, not just in Surrey Heath, but across the country - thank you for giving us your time, your knowledge and your experience - You are all fantastic!!" Stephnie, Home-Start Surrey Heath "I have always worked within the public sector and once I retired from the NHS, I needed to carry on supporting young children & their families. Volunteering for Home-Start Kernow was a natural choice for me. Volunteers are crucial to Home-Start Kernow and I'm proud to be part of this amazing service, helping and supporting young children and their families in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly". Jane, Home-Start Kernow "Our volunteers really are the heart of what we do. They are our most valuable assets! We feel privileged to work alongside such wonderful, kind, caring people. So often they don't realise the difference their kindness makes - but we see it! We can't thank them enough for their willingness to help!" Audrey, Home-Start Angus "Being a Home-Start volunteer is the most rewarding job I've ever done. Helping, encouraging and supporting families is a really rewarding experience". Caitlyn, Home-Start Portsmouth "A big thank you to our amazing Volunteers for their fantastic contribution, commitment in supporting families during the past year!" Maya, Home-Start Leith & North East Edinburgh "I love being a home-visiting volunteer. Its been amazing for my own mental health and its incredible watching the progress of the families I have supported. Friendship and encouragement makes a big difference!" Louise, Home-Start Banbury, Bicester & Chipping Norton "A huge thank you to all our amazing Home-Start volunteers for all you do, especially over the last year. Your kindness and compassion have made such a huge difference to children and families right around the country during such a difficult time". Vivien, Home-Start UK "I want to say how incredible I think everyone who volunteers for their local Home-Start is. It is always such a privilege to talk to you and the families that you work with, to hear about the difference you make. The way that you have adapted what you do to keep supporting families over the past year has been amazing. I know it hasn't been easy, many of you would have had to face challenges in your own lives too, so thank you". Matt, Home-Start UK "Home start volunteers make the bad days easier to conquer. I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for Home-Start and the fab work of the volunteers". Taylor, supported by Home-Start Levenmouth "I am humbled and grateful to the volunteers for everything they do offering support to Home-Start families". Margot, Home-Start Leith and North East Edinburgh “I don’t think I could have got through most days if it wasn’t for the help I got from Home-Start. The lady I speak to every week is like my fairy godmother. Absolutely love her!!” Mum from 'Home Is Where We Start From' report "Every single volunteer I've met through Home-Start has been welcoming, friendly, interested, supportive and understanding. Whenever I walked into the room I always had a very warm feeling and felt safe. The support they provide should never be underestimated". Mum from 'Home Is Where We Start From' report When I started speaking to a volunteer I was overwhelmed that someone would give up their free time to be there for me. I felt the world was a less lonely place and they were people that really cared. I didn’t know what it would be like, I didn’t think phone calls would make such a difference to me but I always looked forward to her calling . I will miss the laughs we had. I can call and sob down the phone which I have done a lot, and then end the call laughing. We started our support on the telephone, but my volunteer found ways to help us see each other, follow the rules and keep safe.