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Families share their inspirational stories

Families share their inspirational stories

(Image: Left to right: Carole Whatnall, Scheme Manager of Home-Start Runnymede and Woking,  Sara, a mum supported by Home-Start with her partner Lee and Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council. The photographer is Andy Newbold.)

Home-Start Surrey families share their inspirational stories as this leading family support charity calls for investment in its Early Intervention approach.

Last Thursday, at the Building Better Futures reception hosted by Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council and Home-Start Surrey, 5 local families shared their personal journeys through a documentary film and observational photo-essays.   When parents can’t cope, children suffer and the impact can last a lifetime.

Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council said:

“Home-Start is one of the most cost-effective charities there is. They intervene early, stopping many families from reaching crisis point and needing more costly support. That is why Surrey County Council is offering its full support to Home-Start’s Building Better Futures event.”

Sally also made the point that whilst Surrey was a county that was seen as largely affluent with areas of high wealth, there were also pockets of severe deprivation, creating an even greater divide for those families who are struggling with poverty.

Hugh Shanks, Trustee of Home-Start Surrey said:

“As life becomes much harder for many families, the more Home-Start is seeing an increase in referrals. We could reach out to many more families in Surrey who need support if we had more funding to train and support more volunteers.”

Currently, Home-Start Surrey supports 725 families and over 1600 children, right across the county.  Of these:

  • a third are living in poverty
  • a further third have a child with an illness or disability
  • and more than half are dealing with poor mental health

Liz Westwood, manager of Home-Start Guildford said:

“Our volunteers play a vital role. Over time they develop deep and trusting relationships with families that can lead to powerful change”.   A sentiment confirmed by mum Sara in the documentary film, who said: “Home-Start was the catalyst for every single positive change that’s happened in my life.”

Home-Start Surrey also launched their Building Better Futures for Children Appeal – reaching out for support from the local community to help sustain and expand the work we do.  From fundraising and donations, to volunteering and business mentoring – there are many ways individuals and organisations can get involved.

Home-Start Surrey’s 400 home-visiting volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation – offering practical and emotional support to families facing difficulties such as isolation, domestic abuse, multiple births and post-natal depression.  Families like those who had the dignity, courage and strength to share their stories last night:

  • Comfort – a young mum from Uganda who suffered years of domestic abuse
  • Sara – diagnosed with severe mental health issues at 15 following years of childhood abuse and drug addiction
  • Lisa – whose babies were diagnosed with twin to twin transfusion syndrome at 14 weeks
  • Jay – a dad who’s raising his little girl on his own, as his daughter’s mum has progressive Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sally – who struggled to cope with depression and Crohn’s disease whilst looking after her premature twins with breathing problems

To view the film, go to our home page.   Click here to view the photo-essays.

One third of families supported by Home-Start Surrey live in poverty

Across Surrey, eight local Home-Start charities have been supporting vulnerable parents and children for over 25 years. When parents can’t cope, children suffer and the impact can last a lifetime.

Currently a third of families supported by Home-Start Surrey are living in poverty. 

But that’s not the end of the story.

On Thursday 6th October 2016, Home-Start Surrey will be holding an event at the headquarters of WWF in Woking, inviting supporters, corporates and local businesses to find out more about the work of Home-Start and how the private sector across Surrey can help make a difference.  View trailer for the event.

On the night, Home-Start Surrey will launch their brand new documentary, and a series of photo essays that depict the journey a Home-Start family goes on with their volunteer. They will also launch an official appeal called BBFC, (Building Better Futures for Children). The appeal will set out the various ways in which to support Home-Start Surrey, from fundraising and donations through to volunteering and business mentoring.

Sally Marks, Chairman of Surrey County Council will be opening the event. Come and find out why Sally feels so strongly about Home-Start Surrey and the work we do.

Hugh Shanks, Trustee of Home-Start Surrey said:

“As life becomes much harder for many families, the more Home-Start is seeing an increase in referrals. We could reach out to many more families in Surrey who need support if we had more funding to train and support more volunteers. That is why we are urging local businesses across the county to come along to our Lottery funded event in October to find out how they can get involved.”

One mum supported by Home-Start in Surrey said: “Home-Start scooped me out of the blackest hole I have ever been in.”

Notes to Editor

Home-Start spokespeople and case studies are available upon request either before or at the event itself. There are also photo opportunities available with staff, families and volunteers.

To attend:

Nunzia Piersimoni e: admin@homestartsurrey.org  t: 07789 998886

Home-Start Surrey

Eight local Home-Starts form the Home-Start Surrey consortium. Home-Start Surrey’s 400 volunteers support 725 families with over 1,600 children. They offer emotional and practical support to families in their own homes for many reasons including isolation, domestic abuse, multiple births and post-natal depression. Home-Start Surrey is part of a wider network of Home-Starts across the UK. Set up in 1973, to date the charity has supported over one million children. Home-Start Surrey website can be found at https://homestartsurrey.org

Home-Start Surrey, Vernon House, 28 West Street, Farnham GU9 7DR

Registered charity no. 1154913 Company limited by guarantee no. 8619881

©2016 Home-Start Surrey