Across the UK, 14,404 Home-Start volunteers are helping 29,170 families with young children deal with whatever life throws at them. They are supporting parents as they build better lives for their children.

These volunteers visit a family’s home for a couple of hours every week. Volunteers tailor-make their support to the needs of the family and they often develop a deeply trusting relationship with the parents which can lead to powerful change within the family.

With many families preparing to meet their volunteers for the first time, we asked our volunteers to tell us their memories of that first meeting.

We had lots of people sharing their experiences, so we’ve picked out some of our favourites here. You can still add your own thoughts by visiting our Facebook page.

Carolyn summed up the feelings of many volunteers when she wrote: “I felt excited and nervous at the same time, both about meeting the family and the fact you're in someone else's home, trying to get the balance right to make a good impression so they'll want to go ahead with the next visit. I must have got it right as I'm still with one of my families over two years down the line!”

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, there are always a few nerves before that first meeting. Kathryn said, “It's natural to feel a little nervous when meeting a new family whether it's your first or fifth. I always feel like it's not a bad thing as you know they are feeling exactly the same.”

Edna was keen to point out that age is no barrier to becoming a Home-Start volunteer. “I was 65 when I first became a volunteer,” she writes. “That was 15 years ago. I used to visit all my families as if I was ‘grandma’. Bring the children into the conversation and off you go!!”

Everyone who volunteers for Home-Start must go through extensive training to make sure they have the skills they need to support their families. And Rachelle felt this was important for getting ready for her first meeting. “I felt the training beforehand really prepared me for the initial meeting and for volunteering. I felt excited to start with the family but also a little nervous!”

Finally, Ann says that “Volunteering with Home-Start Flintshire was the most rewarding experience. What a privilege to be invited into someone's home to spend time with them and to help them to care for their children.” But, Ann reminds us that it isn’t just the family who benefit. Like many, Ann says volunteering for Home-Start “helped me to grow as parent myself.”