"No-one’s asking you to be Superwoman. What I get out of it the most is to know I’ve put a smile on someone’s face," says Rheena.

"I was sitting on my sofa watching This Morning when Philip Schofield and Fern Britton said they had a charity they wanted to talk about called Home-Start.

"The programme showed a story of a young guy – and I’ll never forget this because I actually started crying – who had lost his wife to cancer, and he was left on his own to look after twin toddlers and a newborn baby. He had to give up his job to be a stay-at-home dad, and he said if it wasn’t for Home-Start volunteers coming to his house and helping out for a couple of hours a week he wouldn’t know who to turn to.

"The story was inspiring enough for me to get my backside off the sofa and write the number down. I rang the Home-Start head office and asked about becoming a volunteer in my local area, so they put me through to Home-Start Hounslow.

"I had to do some training and have a police check, and now I’ve got a family that I visit for a couple of hours each week.

"I always thought that nothing scares me and I’m quite a confident person, but I was terrified before I met my family – I smoked about three cigarettes on my way to their house! I think it’s because I was going into somebody’s home and I was really worried that the children wouldn’t like me. But touch wood it’s worked out really well so far.

"I’ve been matched with my family because the mum’s under a lot of stress at the moment. Her youngest son has autism and it’s the first time a child in her family has special needs, so she’s having a difficult time getting her head around it. But we’re learning together. I’m going with them to their first speech therapist appointment, and generally helping her make sense of all the other appointments they’ve been asked to go to.

"I’m enjoying getting to know the little boy, he’s lovely – really gorgeous – and he’s starting to recognise me a bit more now. Home-Start Hounslow thought it would be good for me to be matched to this family because I’ve looked after kids with ADHD and disabilities before, but mostly I’m there to support the mum and be someone for her to offload to. I’m not there to judge or give my opinion, I’m there to listen.

"When I was younger I was a bit more judgmental and opinionated, thinking people shouldn’t be doing things I didn’t agree with. As I grew older I began to realise that sometimes people are put in situations in life that aren’t of their own making, and they just have to do the best with what they’ve got. So my whole view on life has changed. I don’t judge people and I don’t like to give opinions. We’ve all got them – I just try to keep mine to myself and think positively.

"Volunteering has also had a good effect on my family life because my daughter’s really proud of what I’m doing. I visit my Home-Start family once a week for two hours so it hasn’t had an impact on my personal life or clashed with anything I do as a parent. If anything it’s given me more confidence and pride in myself as a single mum.

"Anybody who wants to do voluntary work – anyone with a caring streak, anyone who gets joy from helping other people – can fit it into their lives quite easily. No-one’s asking you to be Superwoman. What I get out of it the most is to know I’ve put a smile on someone’s face. When I say goodbye to my family and I know the mum feels a bit less stressed, and the little boy smiles at me, it feels amazing."

Inspired? See if you can volunteer locally.

Please support Home-Start so that we can continue to train more volunteers like Rheena. Find out how you can help us.