Nineteen year old Zoe lives with her partner and two small boys in a flat in inner city London. Her sons are both under two, both still in a pushchair. Zoe's partner works, so she is often stuck in the flat, isolated and lonely. 

Zoe feels increasingly depressed by her housing. Her flat has a winding staircase down to the street. There is no lift, so just getting out of the front door is a constant struggle. First she has to take the pushchair down three flights of stairs, leaving her two children in the flat. She then climbs the stairs again and brings the eldest child down and straps him into the pushchair. She then has no option but to leave him there while she returns to the flat for her baby and brings him down too.

Zoe's biggest concern is leaving her children at the bottom of the stairs on their own every time she has to go back up to the flat. She says that there will come a time when they will be able to open the door and get out into the street.

This whole process is repeated every time she returns from being out. So, more often than not, Zoe decides not to go out, increasing her isolation.

Now Zoe has regular visits from Angela, a Home-Start volunteer.  She says:

"Angela really helps me. We get a chance of freedom, my boys get to play and run in the park, I can go shopping and can take the boys to the baby clinic and appointments. I know that when I return to the flat, I have the help of Angela."

"I find things difficult that other mums take for granted. Life is so much easier when Angela is around. She really is an 'extra pair of hands'.  It is these little things that make life so much easier for me and my family."

Home-Start is also helping Zoe look for better housing.

Photographs:  ©Immo Klink 2010

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 Zoe'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.