From fashion designers to tech experts, retired teachers to current ones, accountants to doctors and more, Home-Start trustees bring a rich tapestry of skills and expertise to the role.

With well over a thousand people currently volunteering as trustees for the 189 Home-Starts around the UK, we are grateful for the time and commitment that they give to guiding and governing the charity.

To celebrate Trustees Week, we hear from some recent appointees:

Silva Hrabar-Owens, a former fashion merchandiser for Top Shop, ASOS and Boden says redundancy in the pandemic became a defining milestone when it encouraged her to become the Chair of Home-Start Lambeth

“I’d always loved my job but when Covid hit and I was made redundant it forced me to rethink,” says mum of three Silva. “I’ve found a new even bigger passion.” 

Silva’s journey began when she joined Reach Volunteering and started training on how to become a trustee.  

“I watched You Tubes videos, read lots and applied for roles for charities that resonated.” 

Within days she had a call from Lizzie Poulton from Home Start Lambeth. “Lizzie thought I’d be perfect for Chair of trustees, it felt like a big leap! I’d never done anything like it before, but she reassured me my business skills could give leadership and governance. Six months in and I love every minute. It’s been inspiring to do something I’m passionate about. I love hearing how volunteers have helped and also am not afraid to shy away from the difficult stories – it makes me more determined to help. It’s been a steep learning curve but one I’ve loved. The trustees are fantastic.” 

When not with Home-Start, Silva devotes the rest of her time to her business Under Her Eyes, an online shopping experience for women who love timeless fashion. 

 Rajah Sivlal's mum passed away due to ill-health when he was just six months old. The family were referred to Home-Start Exeter and volunteer Paula soon became a weekly support for Raj and his sister Sharena. Inspired by this early support, Raj is now a Trustee for Home-Start Exeter, East and Mid-Devon.

Raj says “Paula was a motherly figure to us both and was supportive in every possible way. She helped us to be creative, curious and inspired us to enjoy learning. It’s hard to imagine what our childhood would have been without this amazing lady in our lives. As for our Dad, who single-handedly raised us, Paula gave him the ability to carve out time for himself"

 “The love of learning and experiencing new things that Paula inspired has stayed with us. I wanted to become a Trustee to have a positive impact on families, whilst supporting my development personally and professionally. Being part of the Trustee Board has given me the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by experienced professionals. I am aware that I need to earn my stripes by continuing to learn and being a dedicated support to the team. I have a very supportive and committed team around me.

I personally know the impact Home-Start has on families. I look forward to the days ahead with Home-Start Exeter, East and Mid-Devon.

Dr Reena Thakrar became a trustee for Home-Start Brent, Barnet, Enfield and Harrow in summer 2020 and feels the role helps her to be a better medic.

She says “Social care, physical health and mental health are all so closely linked so being a trustee with Home-Start makes sense.

“I love being a part of a charity that I care passionately about. For me it relieves the stress of the working day knowing I am involved in a worthwhile volunteering role.

“It’s uplifting to see how volunteers make such a difference for children and families and it’s a lovely place to be part of. Being a trustee compliments my role within medical practice and I love it!”

Dr Thakrar first read about Home-Start on her Linkedin feed. A few months later a patient told her how amazing and supportive their volunteer had been, so she got in touch to find out more.

She says “By focusing on young children, giving advice to parents and supporting their wellbeing Home-Start makes such a difference. Being part of this charity I felt right at home from my very first meeting. I love the sense of community.”

Learn more about the role of a Home-Start trustee

Register your interest to become a trustee