56 year-old Michael is raising his three granddaughters on his own because of their mum's heroin and alcohol dependency. He didn't want to see the girls end up in the care system: he wanted them to have a better life. So he stepped in to help, and Home-Start stepped in to help him.

Although an ex-forces man, nothing prepared Michael for raising a teenager and two children under five on his own. He needed a lifeline.

For more than a year, Fay, a Home-Start volunteer, has visited Michael, Ellie, Kaitlin and Millie at home. Just for a couple of hours each week. It makes all the difference. Fay has become a trusted confidante for Ellie, Michael's teenage granddaughter. Fay also helps with writing, reading and social skills for Kaitlin and Millie, his younger granddaughters - helping them to achieve well at school. 

Witnessing a parent's chaotic drug and alcohol use can have a devastating impact on children's lives, and Ellie had seen her mum use heroin for years. Michael wanted his eldest granddaughter to have a positive female role model, someone who could show Ellie that life can be very different. Fay does this. And she provides hands on support for Michael with Kaitlin and Millie, doing all the things their mum would do if she could:  plaiting their hair, being girly - it's the subtle things. Home-Start has helped fill the gulf that Michael's daughter left.

Home-Start's volunteers have been working in communities across the UK since 1973, helping families like Michael's when they struggle to cope in the most awful circumstances. For many families, Home-Start is their last chance. By giving generously today or becoming a volunteer you will be helping more families like Michael's get the help they so desperately need to improve the life chances of their children.

If you want to find out about help for your own family, please contact your local Home-Start to see if they have a volunteer available in your area.