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Volunteering and charitable giving

What's it like being a Homestart volunteer?

9 replies

PermanentTemporary · 22/05/2021 12:21

Im not quite ready for a 'big' volunteering job but getting there. Just wondered what it's actually like volunteering for them.

OP posts:
Evidencebased · 22/05/2021 12:53

Very good training.
Very good support.

What's it actually like once you've got a volunteering placement? Hard to answer, as they vary so widely. My supervisor was always at the end of a phone if any difficulty arose.

It's vital that you are able to commit for the length of the placement, although my understanding is, due to funding cuts, these are shorter than they used to be.

I think Homestart is an incredibly worthwhile organisation. Is it for you? Go along to the info meeting they hold before each training course, and find out more.

PermanentTemporary · 22/05/2021 15:02

Thank you :)

OP posts:
UCOinanOCG · 22/05/2021 15:03

I love being a Home start volunteer. My families have been great and the staff are supportive and helpful. I am between families right now and I can't wait to be introduced to a new one.

PermanentTemporary · 22/05/2021 15:12

How long are the placements usually? What sort of things do you do - obviously it varies but are there things you're advised not to do?

OP posts:
Mrsjayy · 22/05/2021 15:16

I've "retired" now but I was a volunteer for over a decade and loved's very rewarding but can be challenging. I was well supported though. Please try it and if it isn't for you then you went for it but I don't think you will regret it.

UCOinanOCG · 22/05/2021 15:16

It depends how old the children are or if they keep having more children. I was with my first family for about two years and I still keep in touch with them. The second one was a bit on/off with Covid and they don't need a volunteer now.

What you do with them depends on what they need really. Playing, taking for walks, company and a listening ear for mum has been my role so far.

Mrsjayy · 22/05/2021 15:20

My latter years I did their support groups which suited me better, you can be asked to take. Parents for appointments or help put routines in the home in place it really varies as every family is different you will be matched with a family. And things like personal boundaries and expectations should be covered in your training.

UCOinanOCG · 22/05/2021 15:42

I am a retired social worker and I specifically asked for families who weren't too challenging. I really didn't need that after the job I had been doing. There are a whole spectrum of families who receive support and the matching process is critical. Our coordinator is skilled at making good matches between volunteers and families.

Evidencebased · 22/05/2021 15:42

What do you do?
Such a possible

  • Accompany a parent with a disabled child and another baby to hospital appointments

-befriend a single parent who's become isolated to the point of agoraphobic , go to toddlers group with them until they've made friends and feel confident to go alone
  • one woman on our training course was very clear that she wanted to help someone with babies- she was snapped up my a mum with newborn triplets!
  • listening to parents anxieties, trying to offer some suggestions, and build their self confidence

-helping someone get out to a playground, if one special needs child might have a huge meltdown, but the younger toddler still needs watching
  • being a listening ear, a friend, and another pair of hands

All families are different. Endless variety.
It's a privilege to be invited into someone's life. It's much more about being another pair of hands, a listening ear, and signposting to other agencies for help. It's defo not about being a parenting guru.

What will you be advised not to do?
Get over involved. Do way more than the agreed hours (mine were 3-4 max a week)
Agree in any way to 'babysit' or be left in sole charge.
Share any info about anyone in any way.
The policies and guidelines are very clear, and will be fully covered in the training.
The training itself was interesting, thought provoking, and good fun with a varied group of people, some of whom continue meeting socially.

I'd recommend it to anyone who is empathetic and non-judgmental.
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