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Annual Reports for 2019

Home Start Butser
Last year we celebrated our 20th year, a special anniversary, but having now turned 21 it feels just as important, and equally a cause for celebration.

And what a year it has been with probably more change than the scheme has experienced since we first began. We have four incredible new members of staff with huge capacity and commitment far beyond their part time hours, I feel truly blessed.

Amazing - we now have a bank of 75 volunteers, our largest number ever with a high retention rate. The volunteers continue to be the most valuable resource we have, this year we ran two Preparation Courses and within days all the volunteers were matched with local families. We have just completed our autumn course with 11 fantastic volunteers.

Our 5-year goal is to increase the number of families we support by 20, last year we increased the number of families we supported by 14% from 76 to 87. If we carry on at this rate we will have exceeded our 5 year target in 2 years.

One of the greatest challenges we now face is to continue to attract the resources to do this. It feels more vital than ever before.

Last year we were very successful in attracting funds through the Big Give Christmas Challenge Match Campaign - over £23,000 to support families struggling with mental health issues, and how needed that funding is. This year we have reached our target of £24,000 to enable us to continue our work supporting local families.

Day after day we are helping an increasing number of parents with complex mental health issues some so extreme that tragically lives are at risk bringing inevitable consequences for the children.

Neither the staff or volunteers are mental health professionals but what they offer in terms of consistent, non-judgemental love and care is vital to the journey back to wellness. By working in partnership with agencies we can do so much more, but often there just doesn’t to be the capacity.

We are thrilled to have added to our range of support a ten week Parenting Course which ran from October to December. Our goal is to help parents to understand many of the challenges of parenting in a positive, non-judgmental setting, strengthening parents’ capacity and ability to give their children the best possible start in life.

The number of young parents we support has increased and with gentle encouragement we have attracted some of them to attend the Family Groups offering the opportunity to meet other parents and gain confidence. A particular favourite was a 4-week Baby Massage course that helped both parent and child to relax. We look forward to putting on other courses such as Makaton signing for babies.

Our school readiness project Ready Steady Learn, is now embedded within the scheme with 3 year funding from Children in Need to support a new post. Throughout the summer a 6 week course ran in the Clanfield Memorial Hall.

Let’s not forget that the trustees are also volunteers and are hidden heroes, overseeing the running and governance of the scheme with such a range of talents it is no wonder that we continue to go from strength to strength.

As ever I would like to thank all of you that make Home-Start Butser what it is, helping to support our local families with young children, ensuring a healthier, happier, community for all.