Home-Start Chichester & District volunteers – Kate

‘I was very excited about becoming a volunteer for Home-Start when I started the volunteer preparation course in 2017. I loved the course and found the content very informative, but, more importantly, I found the atmosphere created by the trainers was informal, supportive and relaxed. I felt that the Home-Start ethos of providing non-judgemental support was very much created within the training environment and really helped me when working with my family. Learning about working with families compounded my feeling that this was something I really wanted to do.

When I started with my first family I was apprehensive and a little nervous, but was very supported by my Home-Start supervisor, as they attended the first session with me and clearly explained the families situation to me before I met them. I think I went in thinking I was a bit of a knight in shining amour and I could solve all the families problems and was a bit full on thinking about how I could help them in the beginning. It took me a while to realise that the family wouldn’t necessarily want to do all the things I suggested. Also it took me a while to see that it they didn’t always need to do all the things I suggested either and that, just by me being there and listening without judgment, I was helping. Sometimes I would come away thinking I hadn’t done anything at all and all I was doing was playing with the children for an hour or so and having a chat with Mum, but looking back over the year I’ve worked with them I can see the difference this has made for Mum, but even more so for the children. And that has been hugely rewarding.

Sometimes it felt that Mum would take two steps forwards and then the next week two steps back, so often the same patterns were repeating themselves. However, I can see now that, even if things might not change very much for Mum, I have made a difference to the children and can see that in the way they’ve developed and the relationship I’ve built with them over the year.

Home-Start has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me and has also helped me start a new career. I can’t thank everyone at Home-Start enough!’