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Home-Start Volunteers??

(19 Posts)
mariemarie Thu 11-Jun-09 20:13:35

Sorry for posting in the AIBU thread but Ive posted under employment and no-one has replied, not sure where else this fits but knew this topic is always busy.

Anyway, am thinking of becoming a home-start volunteer. Ive spoken to someone today and they are sending out a pack to me with information. I would have to attend an 11 week training course in September just 1 day a week.

Am currently SAHM and am lucky that financially I dont have to work. My 3 DC are all in full time school but realistically, it would be difficult for me to have a job because I have no-one to take DC to school or collect, DH works shifts.

I was thinking that although this is only a voluntary position, with a minimum of 2-3 hrs per week, this could be good experience and could be used as a stepping stone at some point in the future when the DC are older and more independent.

I havent worked for 7 years now and have no intention of going back to my old line of work and fancy a complete change but am unsure of what to do. Am also way out of touch with everything having been a SAHM for so long. This seems like a good way of trying out something new.

If anyone has any experience of this, good or bad, please let me know.

diedandgonetodevon Thu 11-Jun-09 20:16:33

Weirdest AIBU I've read in ages grin.

I'm a home start volunteer and love it. I help a lovely family and really enjoy being able to help them.

Is there anything specific you want to know?

fucksticks Thu 11-Jun-09 20:18:16

what do home start volunteers help with?

mariemarie Thu 11-Jun-09 20:23:35

Once again, sorry for posting here, as I said, no one replied in employment.

Would like to ask you a few questions if thats ok.

What kind of things do you do for the family?
How formal/informal is it?
Do you stay in their home or go out somewhere with them?

screamingabdab Thu 11-Jun-09 20:31:15

I think chegirl will know about this as well.

Hopefully she's lurking and will see this

stillenacht Thu 11-Jun-09 20:32:30

I had a homestart volunteer last year. She was lovely and phoned the other day to see how my boys were. (My DS2 has severe SN)smile

stillenacht Thu 11-Jun-09 20:34:33

The brief for my homestart volunteer was to play with DS2 so that i could spend time with DS1 (the non SN one) as he does tend to get ignored due to needs of the other DS. However in reality it turned out that she developed a great relationship with DS1 and i stayed with DS2 (as he was reluctant to spend time with her and tbh she didn't really 'get' the autism).

stillenacht Thu 11-Jun-09 20:36:46

When the boys were off doing their own thing i would sit down with her and have a chat and a cuppa(it was wierd as she had retired but did my job in her professional life - a bizarre coincidence).

We largely stayed at home but once i had to go to the dentist with DS1 and obviously had to take DS2 she met me there and looked after DS2 while we were in the room.

PaulaAtMummyKnowsBest Thu 11-Jun-09 20:37:15

I started their course but had to drop out to to my FIL becoming very ill and needing to be around more for my family, but I have worked for families that have had homestart volunteers.

They are a bit like a mothers help and are there mostly for emotional support.

I think that what you do will vary hugely from family to family.

screamingabdab Thu 11-Jun-09 20:41:48

mariemarie I would just say that volunteering is a brilliant way back into the swing of things. I have been a volunteer for a large Charity for a year now, after being a SAHM for over 8 years.
My confidence has really improved, it's a great way to learn new skills, and it makes you realise how motherhood has given you a lot of attributes you might not have had before.

I would really recommend it. I am now working out my next move - hopefully into some paid work.

cheekysealion Thu 11-Jun-09 20:48:24

i am a volunteer and love it..

first family i looked after her children while she cleaned and ironed..

second family i looked after children while she cooked their tea..

each family has different needs , you cant take the children out on your own but you can take them out with the parents..

Go for it it is very rewarding.
I spend 2 hours a week with family..

Egg Thu 11-Jun-09 20:56:32

My lovely Homestart volunteer just finished a couple of weeks ago. She mainly just acted as an extra pair of hands so it was easier for us to go out to the swings / shops etc (have 3yr old DS and 17 month old DTs). She always stayed late until I had got supper on table for DCs.

On one occasion I did leave her with DTs and took DS1 to dentist which was fine but I felt guilty for doing it as they are such hard work!

It was also just fab seeing her each week and hearing about her own (grown up) children and having someone to chat with. She is babysitting for us this weekend smile.

I have already told the Homestart coordinator that I would like to be a volunteer myself once my children are all in school (if I am fortunate enough not to have to be working).

merryberry Thu 11-Jun-09 21:26:14

mine played with my kids in ways i couldn't when rheumatism still untreated. that let me lie on the sofa and relax and enjoy them. it was a social thing for me too, with someone i knew i had no burden of hostessing for, who could listen about the struggle to get through the days. she helped a lot when ds2 was weaning, mashing food where needed. she as not suppoosed to do chores, but she would peel things for me, which i still can't manage!

chimchar Thu 11-Jun-09 21:46:21

i used to work for home start...tiz fab!

as a volunteer, you'll be matched with a depends on why the family have been referred to hs as to what you'll may be to help with the children in may be to help to mum in certain situations (being an emotional support for example when mum needs to go out to town on public transport but gets panic attacks on seeing a bus....)it may be to literally be a listening ear to someone who needs it, or to be an extra pair of hands in a family with lots of young children or children with sn or whatever when they need more than one pair of hands.... it may be to help with budgeting, or to help support with learning a new for example. it may be to attend medical appointments with a parent or child so you can relay whats been covered again when the family gets home...sorry...its long and babbled. its been a LONNNNGGGG day and i'm tired!

its so brill. its also a fab way of getting back into the swing of things, and may well lead to paid employment. at worst you'll getr some good current references and make some new friends...the volunteers are well supported and used to have social paid for nights out every so often. good luck!

MsSpentYoof Thu 11-Jun-09 21:54:19

I have a volunteer, she is invalueable to me, has helped me so much, whether it's taking DS out to the park whilst i get on with some chores, or helping me tidy the house, or just having a chat.

This week I was really poorly and she came around just to do a shop run for me, went out and brought me back the things i needed and even helped me by doing some of the things i had no energy to do like empty the bins etc.

If you can do this for a family you will be so appreciated. it's a good thing to do.

I hope to do it when I have sorted myself out

Stigaloid Fri 12-Jun-09 09:24:20

My friend has help from a home start volunteer and it has been invaluable to her. I think it is admirable that you would wish to help out another mother in need with your time and friendship and am really chuffed for you - hoe it works out well. What a wonderful thing to do for someone.

hedgiemum Fri 12-Jun-09 11:35:07

Just flagging up the only downside I'm aware of (just because you seem to want to research thoroughly, not because I think it should stop anyone from homestart volunteering.)

I volunteered a few years ago when DC were in nursery/school. The first family went great - I really felt like I helped them a lot, but got more out of it for myself than I expected. The 2nd family, when 1st no longer needed support, was very difficult, as a few weeks after I started the wife told me she was the victim of domestic violence. I stayed later than usual because she was so upset, her DH came home early, found me there (which she hadn't told him, we later realized, as he was very controlling) and was verbally abusive to me. I was very worried for the wife and their DC. My DH was worried for me, and we had huge rows as he didn't want me to go around there any more. Homestart actually agreed with that, and were no longer able to support the family because of the risk to volunteers. They dealt with it very well as an organization. (I've heard that the wife has since left her DH.)

I got pregnant again shortly after but I'd definitely consider doing some work for them again - it hasn't put me off, though dH might say something different!

Stigaloid Fri 12-Jun-09 11:45:00

Oooh hedgiemum that is quite scary. Am glad it got dealt with via the organisation and that she eventually left her violent partner. What a horrible situation to find yourself in. Did you feel supported by the organisation in dealing with this?

hedgiemum Fri 12-Jun-09 11:57:25

Yes! They were great. I got the impression that similar situations were few and far between. Homestart offered me counseling and had the police round to take a report from me. I didn't need the counseling, but I appreciated that they didn't just brush what had happened under the carpet.

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