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Any other Homestart volunteers?

(18 Posts)
LittleMissGerardButlerfan Thu 19-Sep-13 10:10:27

I have finished my course and am being matched up to a family.

Obviously I can't give any details due to confidentiality but I have my first visit with my coordinator coming up and I just wondered if anyone has any information or advice or tips?

Feeling nervous and excited smile

Coolmama Thu 19-Sep-13 14:09:05

lovely to hear about another Homestart volunteer! - it is a fantastic charity and I have been involved for about 4 yrs - Best advice I can give you is just to take a breath and relax - your new family are probably just as anxious about meeting you and the more relaxed you can be , the easier it will be to put your new family at ease. Remember that, for them, it can be quite scary inviting a strange person into your home, so try to mindful of that.
You will soon find your feet and it will be the most rewarding thing you can ever imagine doing !

Coolmama Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:31


LittleRobots Thu 19-Sep-13 16:27:30

I'd like to volunteer for this! I had a volunteer when I had my second child and it was fantastic. Its a great idea.

blue2 Thu 19-Sep-13 16:30:27

I was a Homestart volunteer for about 4 years. Loved it. Quite nerve wracking at the start, but once you get to know your family (and vice versa), it'll be the start of a great relationship!
Its brilliant being able to help them find their way through their problems - whatever they are - and see them find a better way of life as a result.

I'm still in touch with 2 out of the 5 families I helped - one's become a friend, too!

Good Luck. You're doing a great job!

dontblameme Fri 20-Sep-13 10:32:55

I started volunteering with HS 3 years ago. It's not the easiest thing to do but it does make a difference. My advice would be, be yourself and try to listen more than talk (depending on the family obviously). You'll soon see where you can help most, whether it be giving parent(s) a break, getting out and about, practical help etc. Above all reassurance that they are doing a great job! Good luck!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:05:34

I work in one of their shops but I'm very new there still.
So I am a volunteer but not for parents (I don't have DC anyway)
However I do also interact with the offices and make up clothes bundles for kids if requested (from donated goods)
It's a great charity and I was told 'we never turn anyone away'
I love working for them... it's great to see the money I help raise going directly to where it should. As the offices are by the shop I do see first hand the good they do..

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:06:12

I have worked for two other charities (won't give names but both involved helping kids) that were horrendous.... if only all could be like this one.

Shamoy Fri 17-Jan-14 19:09:38

What kind of things do homestart volunteers do? It sounds like something I'd like to do once the youngest starts pre school. Is it quite flexible time wise? Ie could you fit doing it around pre school sessions ?

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 20-Jan-14 15:44:23

I've just volunteered for homestart after reading another thread on here- waiting to hear if they actually want me!

I was a bit unimpressed by my local voluntary service council's website though. I applied through that, as I thought that was what was required and put in lots of details about myself and what I hoped to give etc. There's even a special field to write directly to the charity. Finally got a reply from VCS today giving me the details of my local homestart and telling me to contact them to ask about voluntary roles and how to apply. I thought I'd applied already, but now have the impression none of my details have actually been passed on? I'll be going straight to organisations in future.

principalitygirl Wed 29-Jan-14 22:30:33

I'm thinking of becoming a trustee of a local Home Start. Has anyone got any experience of this? Thanks!

principalitygirl Wed 29-Jan-14 22:32:12

Silver - my experience of going through a local volunteering bureau was similar... sad

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 13-Feb-14 17:11:29

I did contact HS direct and got an application form, and they're taking up my references smile I know it sounds like a silly gripe, but after years out of the workplace it took a lot of courage to make the VSC application so finding out I hadn't actually achieved anything by it shook my confidence again!

queenofthemountains Fri 14-Feb-14 20:07:20

I volunteered for 3 years, I loved it. I had 5 families in that time. My only advice is to sit on the floor when you play with the kids. Always works for a shy toddler. Enjoy it, I did.

PlainBrownEnvelope Tue 18-Feb-14 09:06:00

principality I dont have experience as a trustee of Homestart, but as a trustee of another charity. What I would say is

- Be clear about your role on the board and where you fit into the overall skill set. Meet the other trustees in person and interview them as much as they interview you. Beware boards where the other trustees have been there for donkey's years with no fresh blood or boards where certain trustees never show up but dont quit either. Assess the effectiveness of the chair in particular. I say this because some people I know have ended up basically carrying the board for years and doing everything. They can't leave because they feel bad for the CEO so they just carry on whilst marinating in resentment.

- Find out how much time it realistically takes and when this time is. What are the specific tasks assigned to your role- the treasurer might be expected to liase with the auditors for example. I used to have to sit on interview panels which were during the day- a fact which I was not made aware of when I joined the board. Fortunately my employer let me do two days a year as CSR but not all employers will allow that. I also had to do a 2 day grievance hearing once which came out of my holiday. When I started I'd envisaged meetings every 6 weeks and that being it.

- Be aware of your legal responsibilities which are similar to being a director of a company.

This sounds really negative and I dont mean it to be, because it can be a very rewarding experience and you meet some very committed and amazing people. However, charity boards do tend to attract passengers or people who are well meaning but clueless/ not really prepared to commit to the crap bits (firing people/ budget reviews etc).

principalitygirl Tue 18-Feb-14 10:03:30

Oh thanks Plain - really useful advice there. Good point especially about interviewing them as much as they interview you. On looking at the application form it seems that the vacancy is for a vice-chair. Is that going in the deep end for a first time trustee?

PlainBrownEnvelope Tue 18-Feb-14 14:22:47

Not necessarily, unless the Chair is hopeless grin. It could actually be quite good if there are no other responsibilities other than deputising for the Chair. Treasurer and Secretary are often the busiest roles. I guess when I was appointed I was just quite naive about what I was getting into. I didn't realise that I would actually have to challenge the CEO quite a lot and stress about fundraising etc. also within the board there were tensions over strategic direction. It was just more challenging that I thought. However it was invaluable experience and helped me get my current role as a funder.

alltoomuchrightnow Tue 01-Apr-14 23:39:56

yes, volunteer but in the shop only…not allowed to support a parent as not one myself

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