30 March 2020

Dear Home-Start volunteers,


I’m reaching out across the Home-Start volunteer network to thank you for all you are doing to support families in your local area. You are part of a UK-wide movement of 13,500 volunteers who help Home-Start support over 27,000 families and 56,000 children each year. That’s incredible at the best of times but in the face of current coronavirus pandemic, it feels an important moment to share my appreciation.

Volunteering right now is not easy. You will be grappling with adjustments and challenges in your own lives and, because of public health guidance, Home-Start support can only be offered to families at a distance through phones and computers. This at a time when families are facing the strain of isolation and crowded housing, financial hardship, food shortages, and increased anxiety.

Yet, across our Home-Start network, we see the power of compassionate communication –listening and responding with care, experience and without judgement. We are contacting families through phone-call check-ins, online group sessions, texts of encouragement for parents under strain – all done with Home-Start humanity, humility and humour. It is helping families to cope, develop resilience, and stay positive in the home environment which is what every child needs right now

This has required a remarkable adjustment to the way we work which hasn’t been without some pain but, with your help, we are making it work. Earlier this week, for example, one Home-Start shared how they had helped 150 families through remote group work and by sharing “survival support” resources and games for self-isolating families.

Over the coming weeks, we expect to see a rapid increase in demand from families needing support. Sadly, we expect to see spikes in the number of families in crisis and poverty facing serious mental health issues, and in relationship breakdown among parents and children. We need your help more than ever to help families stay connected despite social distancing.

Thank you for everything that you are doing to support families and your local Home-Start during this time. It is very much appreciated, we couldn’t do our work without you.

Warm wishes, 

Peter Grigg
Chief Executive
Home-Start UK