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Annual Report: Butser Home Start 2013

The last year has been a successful one for Home-Start Butser as we have continued to provide a critical service to local families in need.  The service we provide is in constant demand; we provide volunteer home visiting and family support to parents who face a broad spectrum of social, emotional, health and behavioural challenges.  

This year Home-Start Butser has celebrated its 15th birthday.  Set up and established by the local community, including PACT, in 1998, it has been recruiting and training volunteers to befriend and support families with children under five for the past 15 years.   The scheme has supported over 200 families and trained 143 volunteers.  During the last year there were 52 referrals to the scheme demonstrating the ongoing need for our service. The majority of referrals came from Health Visitors but also Children’s Centres, Social Workers and Adult Mental Health are key referrers and there were a number of self-referrals.  The issues that families present with are broad, many lack family support and need a helping hand with two or more young children; others struggle with mental health issues including post-natal depression or general depression.  A small number have suffered from domestic abuse and substance misuse as well as problems with physical health.   What all these families have in common is at least one child under five and a need for a non-judgmental, confidential, supportive relationship. 

Funding has followed a temperamental path through the years and there have been many challenges in trying to sustain the level of funding we require to meet the needs of our local families.  We have become more and more adept at reaching out to the community and asking for support.  We have a strong staff team and trustee Board with an established Funding and Fundraising Committee.  This does not mean our work is easy; the nature of continuously raising funds means that everyone involved works ceaselessly at innovative, intelligent and creative ways to generate funds.  We are proud of our links with the local community including local schools, children’s centres, churches, businesses and all the wonderful individuals who are so committed to supporting our work. There continues to be a firm belief in the value of Home-Start and the potential to change lives. 

Audrey Hollingbery

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