Becoming a new parent is an experience like no other. Throughout those early years, it can be a rewarding time but also incredibly challenging.
Many of us rely on the support of fantastic friends and family when we’re having a bad day parenting young children. But what if you have nobody around to offer that vital support? Perhaps relatives live far away or have their own challenges to deal with. What if you simply can’t talk to your family about your parenting worries? Where do you turn?
Home-Start Norfolk is an amazing charity, and the only one of its kind to provide regular, one-to-one support for parents, with children aged 0-5 years, in their own homes. The charity aims to give young children, age 0-5 years, the very best start in life by supporting their parents.
Through a network of brilliant volunteers, themselves parents or grandparents, Home-Start Norfolk provides regular, practical and essential support to hundreds of Mums, Dads and carers throughout the county. Weekly visits from a Home-Start volunteer give parents and carers someone to talk to, go out with and lean on; with volunteers helping families to get through particularly tough times.
“Some days, as a parent, you simply need to see a friendly face and share a coffee with someone who just gets it! And that’s where our volunteers can step in: providing a listening ear and some practical support and advice to help parents get back on their feet,” says Helen Brown, Home-Start Norfolk’s fundraising manager.
A lifeline for so many Norfolk parents; while raising young families, it’s a service that’s in demand.
Last summer, the charity conducted a survey of more than 200 Norfolk parents. With the results clearly demonstrating that many parents are struggling to cope with the demands of bringing up a young family and are in need of this vital support.
Home-Start Norfolk’s survey found:
88% of Norfolk parents said that coping with a new baby or young family was an overwhelming experience.
65% said they were not prepared for the challenges they would face as the parent of a young child.
65% said they chose not ask for help from friends and family as it feels like admitting they have failed.
More than 66% of parents said that simply having someone to talk to and listen to them would offer the biggest source of support.
Ray McCune is a Trustee and says; “There’s an African proverb which says ‘it takes a village to raise a child’; placing importance on the extended family, friends and wider community to support parents of young children and help them learn and develop in a safe environment. But in today’s world, many people are lacking that vital community support. Our survey highlighted a real and serious issue facing parents here in Norfolk: one of isolation and loneliness. We want to tackle that and be there for more families in the county.”
“Even if parents have a wide support network of friends and family, it can be hard to ask for help. You can’t do it all by yourself, but it’s very common for parents to feel that they have failed if they ask for support.”
Home-Start supports families throughout Norfolk, helping them through a wide range of issues including poor post-natal mental health, lone parenting, coping with multiple births, getting back into work or dealing with a life-changing event such as a death, illness or accident in the family.
By spending just two hours a week with families in their own homes, the Home-Start volunteers make a huge difference.
But the service is in demand. And the charity needs additional funding to train, co-ordinate and support more volunteers, so it can reach out to even more families who need their help.
That’s why, last year, Home-Start Norfolk launched the 5% for the under 5’s fundraising campaign.
If only 5% of the Norfolk population donated just £1, Home-Start Norfolk could raise £44,650 – money which would translate into support for an additional 60 families and offer many more young children a better start in life by helping their parents.
If you would like to support Home-Start Norfolk, please text or donate online:
· £1 - text HSNO15£1 to 70070
· £5 - text HSNO15£5 to 70070
· £10 - text HSNO15£10 to 70070
Online = donate here
Connect with Home-Start Norfolk on social media
Fancy a sky dive?
How brave are you feeling? You can fundraise for Home-Start Norfolk by completing a skydive this May, all the details are here
Information provided by Home-Start Norfolk