Setting up a new Home-Start in your local area will be hugely rewarding, but it is also a complex task and can be time-consuming for those taking the initiative. The journey from initial idea to the launch of a new Home-Start can also be a lengthy one. But throughout the process, you will have the full support of Home-Start UK.

Enquire about setting up a Home-Start in your local area, today!

The information below will help give you an insight into the various stages of the process of setting up a new Home-Start in your local area. Remember, you can always contact us on: [email protected] if you have any questions because childhood can’t wait.

Check to see if there’s a Home-Start in your local area already

How Home-Start UK supports Local Home-Starts

Home-Start UK is the umbrella organisation that supports the network of Local Home-Starts across the UK. Support from Home-Start UK will include:

  • @HOME – this is the place to find all the information and guidance you need to run your Home-Start including policies and practise guidance, training materials, and a dedicated trustee gateway. This is also an online space where you can connect with other Local Home-Starts from around the country; sharing successes, best practice, and providing support to each other.
  • DAS LAW – providing legal advice to the network, including how to hire staff, handling HR issues GDPR, and property law.
  • 24/7 counselling helpline - a confidential service available to all staff and volunteers.
  • Insurance – Home-Start UK has negotiated a special policy which covers the work of most Home-Start activities – this will be explained in further detail when you start.
  • Funding Opportunities – as part of the Home-Start network there may be funding opportunities that come through Home-Start UK.
  • Policy, Practice and guidance
  • Quality Development support 
  • Digital and Web support – advice and training to run effective social media channels along with the opportunity to develop a bespoke website for your area.

Is there a need for Home-Start in your community?

To find out if your community would benefit from having a Home-Start, you must first establish whether local families have needs that aren’t currently being addressed by statutory or voluntary organisations.

Check to see if there’s a Home-Start in your local area already

Some of the questions to think about are:

  • What are the needs of families in your area?
  • What services already exist to meet the needs of families with young children?
  • Would Home-Start contribute to meeting the identified needs?
  • What information will be needed to establish a need?
  • Where the boundaries of neighbouring Home-Starts are and what areas do they cover?
  • What is the relevance of Home-Start to potential funders?
  • Is there the option of office space or an office to give the appropriate ‘reach’ into the community?

What next?

Once you’ve established that there is a need for Home-Start in your community, this is the time to take your idea to the wider community…

Step one: The Open Meeting

  • This meeting should provide evidence of the level of support for a new Home-Start and formally begin the process of setting up a steering group to drive the project forward.
    • Send invitations to potential funders, referrers, trustees and volunteers, to community groups and other agencies working with children and families in your area.
    • The agenda for the meeting should include a presentation about Home-Start and the Home-Start offer to families. Home-Start UK can support you with this.
    • Present the evidence you have gathered and comment on the need for Home-Start.
    • Invite a family and/or volunteer from a neighbouring scheme to share their experiences of the benefits of Home-Start.
    • Identify the group’s leader (who may go on to become the chair of trustees).
    • Formally endorse the creation of a steering group. Enlist the active support of people with a range of skills, including representatives from potential funders. Explain what a steering group does and the level of commitment required.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t recruit a full steering group at this meeting – people can always join at a later date.
  • Finally, set dates for future steering group meetings.

Step two: The Steering Group

A Home-Start steering group will drive forward the establishment of a new Home-Start to the point at which it is set up. The steering group will then become the trustee board responsible for the governance of the Home-Start. They will:

  • Recruit suitable volunteers as potential trustees
  • Initiate the Home-Start into the network by signing the Home-Start Agreement
  • Apply to become a company limited by guarantee and a charity or CIO
  • Apply for funding
  • Establish the profile of Home-Start in the area

Steering groups initially have no legal status. What they do have is a shared commitment to the concept of setting up a Home-Start organisation in their community. It is important, therefore, to have a clear structure to manage this process. This should always include the appointment of a Chair and Treasurer as well as a meeting structure which includes the preparation of minutes to ensure that there is a collective responsibility for decisions made.

Step three: Planning

Initially, the steering group should plan what it wants to achieve within its development period followed by more strategic planning, which looks further ahead and is vital when discussing and submitting funding bids.

A development plan should:

  • Identify the aims of the groups
  • Record the background and history that led to the group being established
  • Include a description of the stakeholders and their contribution to this plan
  • Contain a set of objectives together with target dates and actions required

A strategic plan should:

  • State the mission and vision
  • Include a business plan with objectives and timescales
  • Identify potential risks and how they might be managed
  • Link funding and the achievement of objectives
  • Present the financial information in a clear and concise way

Step four: Establishing Governance

The board of trustees are responsible for Home-Start. The Chair and Treasurer have some specific responsibilities, but the board in its entirety are collectively responsible for the management of the organisation, including:

  • Safeguarding
  • Finance
  • Employment
  • Health and Safety
  • Complying with the law as it relates to the organisation

Trustees do not all need to be experts in every aspect of this, but they do need to be able to ask questions of those who have the expertise and to feel confident to challenge others when appropriate. This will ensure that the Home-Start meets its responsibilities to the families that are being supported, the volunteers who are giving their time, the staff who are employed, and the laws and regulations that govern the way organisations operate.

Being a trustee is a big commitment and can be immensely rewarding. Home-Start UK helps trustees in many ways, including:

  • Access to the expertise of fellow trustees within the Home-Start network
  • Trustee Gateway on @HOME
  • Trustee Induction package
  • Regular webinars on relevant topics
  • Quality Assurance framework
  • Legal advice from DAS
  • Insurance brokered through Home-Start UK

Step five: Launch

The development work undertaken by the steering group will have included:

  • Creating the governance structure
  • Registering as a charity or CIO
  • Incorporation as a company limited by guarantee
  • Adequate funding to ensure at least short term sustainability
  • Location of office base/premises
  • Clarity over the geographical scope of the Home-Start
  • Agreement with HSUK that you are ready to launch

Once that is agreed, the steering group will:

  • Sign the Home-Start Agreement
  • Ensure that the new organisation is fully insured
  • Set up a brand in the Home-Start Brand Centre
  • Launch a website and social media channels
  • Begin recruitment process for the organisational staff
  • Agree on a date for the inaugural meeting
  • Agree on a launch date, usually waiting until staff and volunteers have been recruited and are ready to support families.
  • Publicise their launch and establish Home-Start within the local community

Home-Start UK will support you through this process and you will be welcomed by a network of Home-Starts.

How to become a part of Home-Start

To join the Home-Start network, each local Home-Start must adopt Home-Start UK approved governing documents. This includes the standards and methods of practice, and sign the Home-Start agreement. What we expect in return from local Home-Starts is:

  • payment of a levy which is discussed on an individual basis
  • adherence to the Home-Start Agreement
  • statistical information about your work and your financial position
  • continued engagement with both Home-Start UK and the wider network of Home-Starts

Enquire about setting up a Home-Start in your local area, today!

Contact details: [email protected]