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Annual Report: Butser Home Start 2011

This year has been a time of many changes and challenges. The one constant Is the record number of families that Home-Start Butser continued to support - 86 families and over 200 children.

Earlier in the year we passed the Quality Assurance review with flying colours and later became incorporated as a Limited Company. We established our own new database system and are currently establishing the Home-Start UK Monitoring and Evaluation System (MESH), We were relieved to secure a third year of funding from Hampshire County Council for the Family Support Contract through the Hampshire Home-Start Group. However our statutory funding has reduced, putting pressure on us to raise funds from other sources.

During the year we trained ten volunteers increasing the number to 58 which helped us to keep our waiting lists down. As the cuts start to hit. and services struggle to meet rising demand on diminishing budgets, more and more are forced to rely on the energy and commitment of volunteerS arid Are are truly grateful for everything our volunteers give.

Our positive relationships with locall Children's Centres continue to strengthen the joined up support that we offer families, therefore the news of impending closures and changes to the Children's Centres brings anxiety and concern.

Over the year there have been some changes to our Family Groups which allow us to offer even better facilities for our Home-Start families. Both groups are now run by two members of staff and in our Horndean group we are lucky enough to also have a dedicated volunteer. Both groups now have the benefit of being in a Sure Start Children's. Centre that offers
stimulating play opportunities and an outside play area, which the children benefit from, In both groups we continue to enjoy a healthy breakfast where Children and parents sit together around a table to share toast, fruit and yoghurts together. We have recently been fortunate enough to receive a further three years of funding from Children In-Need towards our Family Groups.

We were grateful to the Petersfield Lions Club for their generous donation to fund a trip to The Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth for our families and we also enjoyed our annual Christmas party where we had visits from two popular television characters as well as Father Christmas, with a gift for every child attending.

Perhaps the biggest forthcoming change and challenge for the scheme is the retirement of our amazing Organiser Trish Biggs after eight years. It with great reluctance we say goodbye to her and wish her well for all her future plans. She has contributed so much to the lives of everyone she meets, from families and volunteers to trustees and staff and we would like to thank her for everything she has done.

Nicola Winter, Senior Organiser

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