Thanks to Home-Start for helping me to realise that I am not the only one in this world, that there is help. It has made a massive difference to me and my family and I can see my relationship has improved. Without Home-Start I don’t know what I’d be.

Isolation doesn’t just affect families living in rural areas. People who live in towns and cities are just as likely to suffer from isolation and feel alone.

When Rahela had her second child she felt overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness.

Just weeks after the birth of her first child she’d suffered a cardiac arrest, and her health continued to deteriorate. Now, just a month after the birth of her son, she became severely depressed.

“I felt really, really, lonely,” she remembers. “I had all these overwhelming thoughts. I felt as though I had nobody to talk to. I just thought ‘I have no one in this world that cares about me.’”

Although her family lived in the same town, they were the other side of Oldham and Rehela didn’t feel comfortable asking for help. “I felt as though I was being judged. So that is why I felt lonely and, although I had my lovely husband who has always supported me and still supports me, I still felt as though I was lonely. I could only see darkness.”

At her lowest points, Rahela knew that her feelings were having an effect on her children. “I used to cry for no reason and although I tried not to express it in front of my children, they can sense it. So this is the time that I thought ‘I need help’.”

Rehela was first told about Home-Start and what our volunteers do by her health visitor, who then referred her to Home-Start Oldham, Stockport & Tameside for support.

Rehela had been matched with two great volunteers who helped and supported her, but it was after she was matched with her third volunteer, Norma, that she formed an amazing relationship.

“Norma is just brilliant. I respect her as my mum,” Rehela says. “She is always giving me that bit of confidence and she is always going the extra mile for me.”

“It goes to show that regardless of age, race and culture, friendship has no boundaries. Norma and I are a match made in heaven.”

“Because of her I tend to go out more now. She is the one who found out about mother and toddler groups, so she helped me to go out and meet other families as well so it makes me feel as if I’m not lonely.”

It’s not just Rehela who looks forwards to Norma’s visits each week, but her children too.

“Norma comes on a Thursday,” Rehela explains, "and my daughter is always asking me in the morning ‘what time is Norma coming?’ As soon as they see her they hug her really, really, tight. My kids just look forward to seeing her.”

Now, with the support of Norma and Home-Start Oldham, Stockport & Tameside, Rahela is looking forward to the future. “I have massively improved and I feel so much happier,” she says. “I am not a lonely person anymore. I have got people out there who can help, who give me that boost.”

“Thanks to Home-Start for helping me to realise that I am not the only one in this world, that there is help. It has made a massive difference to me and my family and I can see my relationship has improved. Without Home-Start I don’t know what I’d be.”

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 Rahela's.  If you can't donate, then please think about volunteering - your time helps as much as your money.  You could change a family's life.