Claire's Story

Family Volunteer
  • Where did you hear about volunteering for Home-Start Havant?

A display in Havant Library asking for volunteers in 2003.

  • How did you find the Volunteer Course?

Excellent. It covers all aspects of the HS ethos, so you understand the committment. Lots of discussion to allay, concerns and be aware of own 'prejudices'.

  • In What Way has being a volunteer helped you?

Very broadening, provides an awareness of wide range of family lifestyles. Made me patient and stronger and the whole experience gives a sense of satisfaction and achievement. 

  • What are the requirements for becoming a Volunteer?

Being open-minded and the ability to support without taking over. Being able to nuture and give family a sense of hope and progress, fun and enjoyment.

  • What was it like to be matched with you first Home-Start Family?

Lots of questions of oneself about being accepted, getting on with the family, knowing what to say and how to react.

  • How much support do you receive from your Home-Start Co-ordinator?

Regular supervision in my home and the chance to be open and honest. Phone calls over immediate concerns. Information on other agencies to use or groups. Training with other volunteers.

  • Reflecting back since you have taken on your volunteer role, what have been the best and worst moments?

Best: Feeling accepted by family, positive responses to your suggestions. Family just happy to see you.

Worst: Saying goodbye at closure and losing that link. 

  • If there was one tip, one piece of knowledge/wisdom you could pass on to those who new to a Volunteer role, what would that be?

Be yourself. Dont expect to go in and 'wave a wand'. Progress and acceptance come slowly. Don't make promises that you can't keep. Remember details of names straight away, don't keep asking. Listen attentively, show you care. 

  • Anything else you would like to add?

The concept of Home-Start is so simple. Parents helping parents. How it used to be, only I'm sure that the support is readily accepted 'mostly' because it comes initially from a stranger, who in turn becomes a friend.