Families get the right head start
A charitable organisation which plans never to grow old is turning 21.
Home-Start Central Lancashire, based in Chorley, has started the year by planning its big thank you party for October and is inviting its user groups to attend.
Suzanne Holmes, family groups support worker, said: “We are planning a big thank you celebration to mark our 21st birthday for all our volunteers, referrers and everyone involved with Home-Start.
“As a local charity, we have overcome some difficult times and gone from strength to strength so 21 years of service is quite a landmark and we are proud to achieve this.
“I feel it’s a privilege to work for a worthwhile charity making such a huge to local families lives.”
The centre runs family groups throughout Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire which are open to parents and carers with children under school age.
Suzanne said: “We provide enriching, fun activities, themed crafts, snack time and singing sessions.
“It’s free and there is no need to book. Everyone is welcome.
“We offer support and friendship were parents can get involved in their children’s play and development and meet others and be part of a community.
“Home-Start can provide help and advice with parenting, children’s health and well-being as well as practical help with nutrition, routines and toilet training.
“We also offer a home visiting service where a trained volunteers offer support and friendship to families in their home.
“Families who attend groups reported feeling less isolated and an improvement in their parent-child relationship also they noticed their child developing socially and interacting with others.”
Service user Donna Thornton, of Chorley, said: “We attend the family group at Chorley and my little boy loves it.
“There is lots to do, including crafts, outdoor play and singing. It is good for me to chat to other mums. The staff do an amazing job.”
Another Chorley mum, who did not wish to be named, said: “Staff at group are very helpful and friendly. My son loves the toys and activities. It gives us both something to look forward to. It helps me meet other mums to chat and share experiences.”
Another parent who benefits from the scheme added: “Sometimes without going to group I wouldn’t talk properly to another non-family adult all week. “When things are difficult and you have no sleep, you know you are not alone.”
Home-Start Central Lancashire is just one of the 269 independent Home-Start branches across the country.
Its volunteers help families with young children deal with the challenges they face. They support parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children.
As well as holding group sessions, Home-Start volunteers spend around two hours a week in a family’s home supporting them through issues such as post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems and bereavement.
The charity also help people access local services in their area, such as housing, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, financial support, and mental health support.
Home-Start has also launched its Big Hopes Big Future programme to work directly with parents and children and help them to build the skills they need to be ready for the first day of school.
Volunteers help develop reading, writing, numeracy, and understanding of the routines of the school day.
For more information visit www.home-start.org.uk/home-start-central-lancashire