My husband was killed by a drunk driver. He simply went to work and never came back. I was devastated. At the time my son was six and my twin daughters only three.

Pauline's life came close to collapsing when her husband was killed. Then along came Home-Start visitor Joy.

"We had a lot in common," Pauline says. "The main thing being that she was a widow and knew exactly what I was going through - the feelings I was experiencing, the sometimes mad thoughts that I was having. She reassured me that it was all part of what we were going through.

"The trust developed quite quickly between us, with Joy supporting me in numerous ways: helping with the children; being an extra pair of hands when the children were off school; practical things that I had taken for granted before but that became massive mountains to climb when you're suddenly left on your own.

Slowly the mountains became smaller, the unsolvable problems became solvable again. Looking back over the last few years, I knew I could have never made it through without Joy's help.

"Home-Start is a much-needed service to a lot of people with varied problems. Sometimes it is difficult to ask for help - or even recognise that you need it - but everyone could use a shoulder to lean on when times are tough."

If you want to find out about help for your own family, please contact your local Home-Start to see if they have a volunteer available in your area.

Please support Home-Start so that we can continue to support more families like Pauline's.  If you can't donate, then please think about volunteering - your time helps as much as your money.  You can change a family's life.