We have created a unique monitoring and evaluation system to record how every one of our families is coping with the problems they have identified.

It is based on Home-Start's longstanding recording of families and is known as MESH (Monitoring and Evaluation System Home-Start).

We collect information in four headline catagories and for 13 specific needs.  The system allows us to capture individual information about a family as well as to pull out anonymised data from all the families we support.

Families are asked to rate how well they are coping at the beginning and end of their support and at formal review stages inbetween. We chart the ups and downs of their journey of change during our support.  We also record what help they would like from their volunteer, and when and how this is given. 

Families give themselves a score between 0 and 5, where 0 is not coping at all and 5 is coping very well, for each of the four headline categories:

  1. Parenting skills
  2. Parental wellbeing
  3. Children’s wellbeing
  4. Family management

Our system also records how families’ lives change in response to events such as illness or redundancy, or because parents are being supported to cope better with their circumstances.

We link our recording systems with Hardiker levels of need (in all four nations) and with the SHANARRI indicators (for Scotland's 'Getting It Right For Every Child' work).

We are proud to provide ‘active signposting’ and practical help for families - so they can find and use other services. We record which services Home-Start has helped them find.  We also record how volunteers help families cope with travel, access, childcare or other difficulties which would have prevented them from keeping any appointments.

More about our impact and about research into our work.