This week is Volunteers' Week and we’re celebrating the work done by the 15,000 home-visiting volunteers who make the work of Home-Start so special.

The difference a volunteer makes to the family has to be seen to appreciateBecause Home-Start’s work is based around people voluntarily sharing their experience with parents who have chosen to accept their support, we build special relations with families and can have a huge impact on lives.

Our volunteers each offer families tailor-made, emotional and practical support. They help families to establish routines, get the family involved with the local community, encouraging parents to play and read with their children, giving parents a break and offering advice.

But often it is just a case of giving parents someone who will listen to their worries or concerns and offering a shoulder to cry on.

Our volunteers are modest about what they do, but research shows they make a significant difference to families in four key areas: parental health and well being; children’s health and wellbeing; parenting skills; and family management.

We asked people on our Facebook page to share some of their
memories of their work with families. This is what they told us.

But it’s not just home-visiting volunteers who make Home-Start what it is.

There are 2,448 trustees who give their time and experience to make sure that local Home-Starts are well run and sustainable for the future.

In a poll for our website almost half of our volunteers said they
began working with us because they wanted to work with families.

Thousands of people around the country also give their time to raise money for local home-starts, making their work possible. And behind every volunteer are their own friends and family who give them the support they need to help families.

Everyone who supports Home-Start, in whatever capacity, is helping to change the lives of thousands of parents and children across the county.

So, this Volunteers' Week we say ‘thank you’ to them all.