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Annual Report for Home Start 2018

To have reached the milestone of 20 years is an incredible achievement for a local charity. Many charities, particularly small ones are not sustainable and yet Home-Start Butser with great tenacity has not only managed to survive but also thrive. In this climate of austerity, with ever changing and stretched services, the continuity of Home-Start is remarkable.

This mirrors the long term, regular support that volunteers offer families. Six weeks of support would be welcomed by any family but it is the development of the trusting relationship over months and sometimes years, if needed, where Home-Start’s success lies.

Many volunteers have been trained over the twenty years, those volunteers have supported hundreds of fragile parents and children every year, helping them build better futures.  Some parents have gone on to become volunteers; many now have grown up children who will remember their volunteer with fondness and love.

Our offering is universal and this is crucial. Life doesn’t discriminate and nor does Home-Start. We reach out the hand of support to any family with a child under five going through a critical time. From the naval parent with a toddler and newborn twins whose husband is away at sea, with no family nearby, to the mother struggling with illness and mental health with five children on the Child Protection Register, each one needs some help and a belief that somebody cares. The reasons for referrals are broad and varied, including isolation, poverty, illness, disability, bereavement but it is worth noting that 40% of referrals last year identified mental health as an issue.

This year we supported 76 families and 155 children, some of these had extra support with the school readiness programme, BHBF. The Bumpstart project, so generously funded by the community through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, has to date helped 9 pregnant mothers and their families. Our two Family Groups in Clanfield and Petersfield supported 14 families as well as hosting mental health sessions for parents delivered in partnership with Mind, and a BHBF school readiness group.

Our referrals, traditionally mainly from Health Visitors are now more diverse, from pre-schools, schools, midwives, Social Workers, and increasingly self-referrals. This indicates that our profile and reach is increasing. However we currently don’t have the capacity to cover a substantial part of our geographical area, including Horndean, Rowland’s Castle and East Meon. Within these areas there are pockets of high deprivation and increased housing development.  It is imperative that we generate resources to be able to support families across the whole of the south of East Hampshire District. To this end the Management Committee have made the decision to invest in the scheme with a plan to expand our staff team to allow us to develop and grow.  As one door opens another closes and it is with sadness we say farewell to three members of our team, Kendel Simcox, Ann Richardson and Elaine Amphlett, and thank them for all that they contributed to the wellbeing of local families and wish them the best in their new ventures. 

Our hope is that the future will see many of us standing here in another twenty years sharing the successes of a charity that helps build a sustainable future for the community through this simple but powerful model of support.

Nicola Winter, Scheme Manager

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