Yesterday I did 26 radio interviews around the UK to help launch Home Start’s new campaign called Childhood Starts Now  a very important campaign to change the lives of thousands of children in Britain today.

HOW HOME-START HELPED A FAMILY ‘IN SHOCK’ AFTER A BEREAVEMENT

Vanessa Bates, 40,  from South Derbyshirewas left ‘shell-shocked’ after her husband died in a car accident in 2005, and, just two days later, she found she was pregnant with her second daughter. Absolutely distraught, she sought the help of Home-StartSouthDerbyshire, based in Newhall.

“Six years ago I’d never heard of Home-Start” says Vanessa. “Then things went horribly wrong for me when, just after losing my mum, my husband was killed in a tragic accident, leaving me with a little girl who wasn’t quite two years old. Then just two days after my husband died, I discovered I was pregnant and there followed some incredibly dark days when I just shut down.

“I was barely able to function as a human being let alone be a parent toSianwho’d just lost the daddy she worshipped, or be a mother to Lexie when she was born. Realising I was going to have to face being a lone parent to two small children knocked me sideways. I’d never felt so alone or so afraid of life and the things we all do daily without a second thought. I needed help but in the state I was in I had no idea what help I wanted or needed or, more significantly, where on earth I would find it.

“I can’t remember who referred me to Home-Start, but I thank my lucky stars that they did. A lovely lady arrived at my house and explained what Home-Start was all about. A volunteer came to my house for a couple of hours a week and what we did during that time was down to me and what I felt able to cope with. Home-Start brought the first glimmer of light that I’d seen in a very long time.

“My first volunteer Eve was marvelous.  In my mind I had become painfully aware that people must have been sick of listening to me going over and over the events that had brought me to this horrible situation. But Eve was incredibly kind, understanding and supportive. And she was followed by Pat, who remains a friend. Quite simply, Home-Start helped to put a very broken me back together again, gently and slowly and with plenty of understanding.

“It’s six years since my wonderful husband was taken so cruelly from his family. We still have the odd wobble but who doesn’t now and again – it’s what makes us human.

“I found Home-Start so inspirational, and I was so upset to no longer be part of the organisation when my children were older, I signed up as a volunteer.”

The issue

–          there are thousands of families with young children in the UK today, at breaking point, just one event away from crisis and facing a daily struggle to meet their children’s basic needs: families with young children at crisis point  trying to deal with  poor health, inadequate housing, financial difficulties, the grinding effects of poverty  who are very often isolated – struggling to cope without friends or family to support them and just a short step away from despair and family breakdown.

–          For families like this, very often charity’s like Home Start are the last chance they have,

–          parents are turning to them in ever-increasing numbers due to growing pressures on family life.

–          all the research evidence clearly demonstrates that the first five years are vital for a child’s development.

–          what goes on inside a family strongly determines the opportunities and life chances children have. Children who are raised in a stable, loving, family environment are more likely to have a positive and healthy future.

–          but being a parent isn’t easy and sometimes life can get in the way.

–          Life can deal a blow that throws you off course and everything else can take a back seat. If help of the right kind isn’t available early enough families reach breaking point. To a young child that can mean they miss out on the love, routine and stimulation that are so vital for their future.

How  Home Start Can Help

Childhood Starts Now is all about making sure families get the lifeline they need to cope with all the difficulties they’re struggling with so they can provide a secure, loving home- for their children.

–          that can be emotional help – a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen and understand their difficulties; it can be practical help – someone to help them get out of the house for the first time in weeks, go through their finances with them and make sure they get the benefits and help they need (so they don’t have to be afraid every time the postman comes to the door), – but very often it’s a number things – done with the family over time, in a way that the family can manage, all working together to help the family find their feet again and cope with whatever life has thrown at them. One mum described it as ‘helping put a broken me back together piece by piece.

–          When families do well, children do well

–          The right support, at the right time, given in the right way can make a huge difference.

–          Home-Start is a national family support charity working across all four corners of theUK

–          Home-Start works because their volunteers are parents themselves.

They understand how hard it can be and they work alongside parents in their own homes on a one to one basis, to help them cope with the stresses and strains of life and make sure they have the skills, time and strength they need to cope with whatever life and nurture their children’s development.

Please donate today and help make HAPPY memories that last a lifetime for the children Home Start help.