It’s about parents supporting parents.
Your parenting experience could be a lifeline for a family. Join our team of dedicated volunteer family support mentors.
Do I need any qualifications to be a family mentor volunteer?
The only real ”qualification” needed, is experience of bringing up children. Friendliness and a caring attitude are essential as well as an understanding of the pressures of parenting. We value people who don’t judge others; people who respect the fact that they have been invited into a family’s home; people who treat a mother or father as an equal.
Do family mentor volunteers get any training?
We would never send anyone out to our families until we were certain they had the skills, training and support they needed to make it a positive experience for everyone. That is why all Family Support Mentors are required to complete a thorough training course that is delivered in 8 weekly sessions and will includes supervision and review meetings as you go along.
The training sessions will prepare you for the home visiting role, covering topics such as child development, difficulties and issues experienced by families, boundaries and values, supervision and support, and will provide you with a ‘toolkit’ of skills and strategies for working alongside parents and their children.
Feedback from the training is always very positive;
“The session was delivered very clearly and moved along at a good pace.”
“All the information felt useful and relevant to take forward with us when we are working with families.”
“Great start to the course with clear structure and what to expect.”
“It was very useful to understand different people’s values, respect them and see it from their point of view.”
What if I go away or can’t do every week?
The volunteer manager will always discuss a family with you and check your availability before you are matched with them. If you take the family on, you are expected to commit to every week; however if you know you are going to be away for a week or two, arrangements can be made to provide alternative support if it is appropriate. Sometimes volunteers have things going on with their own family’s, children’s exams, bereavement etc. in this situation the volunteer may take a break from supporting families and would be classed as ‘resting’.
A quick guide to becoming a volunteer family mentor
- You must be a parent yourself, as we have found this is the best way to empathise with families
- As a Home-Start Family Mentor, you will support a family by visiting them at home for around two hours, once a week
- You should be able to commit for at least six months to Home-Start
- You should have a non-judgemental attitude and understanding about the pressures of bringing up a family
- You will have to attend our free Volunteer Preparation Course with other new volunteers before meeting your first family. It consists of 8 weekly sessions (approximately 40 hours)
- Expenses are paid during your training and while you are supporting a family. Help with childcare costs may be available
- You must understand that your support for families is completely confidential
- You will have to undergo a criminal record check at enhanced level
- You will be supported by your local Home-Start during the time you are visiting families
What our family Mentor’s say:
“As soon as I heard about Home-Start I knew it was a charity that I wanted to be a part of. To have the opportunity to work with a family that needed support was very rewarding as I remember well how difficult the early years can be.”
“Meeting the families and being involved in their lives was and is immensely enriching”.
“To have the opportunity to work with a family that needed support was very rewarding as I remember well how difficult the early years can be.”
“Meeting the families and, being involved in their lives was is immensely enriching”
“Because we visit families each week we really see the difference as they grow more confident and learn to manage. It is so lovely to see that our support really does make a difference.”
Trustees serve on the governing body (board) of a charity and are responsible for directing the management and administration of it.
You would have a range of duties and be responsible for making the charity effective, providing overall direction and maintaining sound management of funds. They also act as ambassadors for the charity, raising it’s profile and identifying potential contacts and funding opportunities.
The Board of Trustees meets every 6 weeks and trustees are expected to attend the AGM and an annual away day to review strategy and performance. In addition, trustees are asked to serve on Board Committees, which involves attendance at a couple of shorter, daytime or evening meetings throughout the year.
Our trustees are an integral part of the team and it is essential that they take a proactive approach, building relationships with the staff and getting involved in activities and events where they can.
The trustee posts are all voluntary.
Could you provide:
- general business management?
- financial and legal expertise?
- IT knowledge?
- human resources experience?
- PR & media skills?
- Events and campaigns experience
- knowledge of family support issues in the community?
If so, we’d love to hear from you, please contact us or call us on 01438 367788 for more information.
Roles are always changing depending on what is going on in the charity, but it is pretty much a case of, if you have a skill you want to share, then we could almost certainly find a role for you. Some examples are:
Collection tin distribution and management in your area
Currently we are looking for…
Hosting or supporting others to put on activities or events in the local community e.g Local pubs, scouts/guideing groups, book clubs, schools
Collection tin distributor in your area
Placement and collection of tins in local shops and businesses
We regularly have donations of children’s clothing or equipment which is very helpful for our families when they need things, but we have items donated that we aren’t able to pass on and can’t store as we don’t have the space.
With an eBay volunteer, we could accept more donations and raise money from items not needed by our families.
You’d be required to post items on the Home-Start account and follow up with dispatch of the items and queries.
Could be done from home and would require a few hours monthly but can be flexible.
Are you a budding author or journalist with a bit of spare time?
We are looking for a writer to join our team to help us create a library of stories. There are so many amazing examples not only of how our families have come through their struggles, but also the amazing journey that the family mentor takes whilst supporting the family.
We’re looking for someone who can confidently interview families, mentors and our supporters to capture their stories in a way that is engaging, succinct and inspiring to the reader.
Stories will be used across our communications and will feature in print, on our digital platforms including social media.
We are setting up a great new program to build a Home-Start Community Champions team!
As a Home-Start champion, you will be representing Home-Start in your local community, raising the profile of the charity, inspiring others to support us and identifying opportunities for fundraising.
You will use your skills and passion to reach out to different audiences such as community groups, Businesses and Churches, to speak about the issues faced by families we support and the work we do to help parents to overcome their challenges so their children can have the best start in life.
The role is varied and activities can be selected based on the interests, skills and availability of the volunteer; activities include :
- Raising awareness of Home-Start Herts and what they do
- Attending events on behalf of Home-Start Herts, such as cheque presentations, local networking groups and relevant information workshops and conferences
- Assisting with delivery of local community fundraising and awareness events
- Getting people involved in Home-Start events and campaigns, promoting ticket sales and sourcing raffle prizes
- Giving short talks on the charity and work of Home-Start to a variety of community groups
- Using your connections and having the self-confidence to arrange local projects