Home Visiting Support
A fully trained family mentor is matched with the family and visits them in their home for a couple of hours each week. The mentor provides practical and emotional support to help the family work through the challenges they are facing, for example, they:
- Help them get out of the house to visit groups and meet people
- Accompany them to medical appointments to occupy the children whilst the parent is in the appointment
- Sign post the family to other support services, help with paperwork and attend meetings with them if necessary
- Provide strategies and support to assist parents with issues such as routines, healthy eating or managing challenging behaviours
We will always gratefully remember the help and support we received from Home-Start when our twins came along (they have just turned 6!). It was a difficult time as we already had a 2 year old. The hands-on help and the emotional support made a huge difference to all our lives.
Some families don’t want or need one-to-one support from a family mentor but still need a bit of support. If this is the case, we are able to offer families support at one of our Family Groups.
There are groups currently running in Cheshunt, Hemel Hempstead, Letchworth, Hertford, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City
The groups are run by Home-Start group leaders and trained volunteers. They run weekly all year round.
The group activities and topics are based on principles from our ‘Big Hopes Big Future’ school readiness program. Through play and interaction, children develop social, emotional and practical skills, experience routine and learn basic independence skills, ready for nursery.
Out of the Blue – peri-natal depression and anxiety support project
Having a baby is a big life event, and it’s natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. Sometimes these emotions can start impacting on how you live your life.
Around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. These are known as perinatal, meaning around birth, mental health problems.
Some parents are more at risk of developing depression and anxiety during pregnancy due to previous experiences such as:
- Previous mental health conditions
- Traumatic childbirth, still birth or infant mortality
- Domestic abuse
- Poor social support
The Out of the Blue project provides specialist trained family mentors for parents who have been identified as at risk of developing perinatal anxiety and depression. Support can be offered towards the end of the pregnancy and beyond birth.
Through weekly home-visiting support, the mentors help the parents to become less isolated, they support them to attend health appointments, help them increase their use of community support and provide advice and suggestions around parenting.
Families can refer themselves or can (with the parent’s permission) be referred by health, or other relevant professionals, who have concerns.