The work of Home Start staff and volunteers was praised during a debate in Parliament about how to give babies the best start in life.

The debate came on the day Home-Start UK, the Parent-Infant Foundation and Best Beginnings released a new report, No-One Wants To See My Baby, a follow up to the 2020 report, Babies In Lockdown. 

The debate was secured by Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, who said: “I’d like to acknowledge the huge contribution made by the voluntary sector, in supporting new families, in particular the work of Home-Start who provide an excellent network of support.”

During the debate, politicians spoke of the importance of supporting parents with young children as we slowly emerge from the pandemic and lockdowns and the Rt Hon Dame Andrew Leadsom MP quoted some of the startling figures contained in our report.

“Nearly seven in 10 parents felt changes brought about by Covid were affecting their unborn child and 35% parents would like to get help about concerns with their relationship,” she said. “Nine out of 10 parents experienced high levels of anxiety.”

During the debate politicians praised Home-Starts in their constituencies.

Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford, said: “I am a great supporter, and always have been in all my years as an elected representative, of Home-Start in Northern Ireland. It knows that well trained volunteers complement the early years workforce, significantly contributing to the support that families receive and enabling them to access services when those are most needed.”

Alison Thewliss, MP Glasgow Central, thanked: “All the organisations in our constituencies that provide such vital support to families in their time of need. I have Home-Start in my constituency too, and it does a fantastic job.”

Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, said: “The co-ordinators and volunteers at Home-Start Richmond, Kingston & Hounslow have told me about the high levels of anxiety experienced by new mothers unable to access health visitor advice and reassurance. That is impacting new mothers’ confidence and their ability to meet their baby’s needs.”

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