A Welsh charity that supports families through some of their most challenging times has launched a campaign to recruit more volunteers to join their team after seeing a rise in demand during the pandemic.
Home-Start Cymru is looking for people who can spare even just an hour a week to help deliver their services to families.
Whether that is being matched to support a local family as a home-visitor or telephone befriender, taking on a leadership role as a charity trustee, or with skills to help with family groups or fundraising.
Bethan Webber, CEO of Home-Start Cymru, said: “Home-Start Cymru has seen referrals rise during the pandemic making the charity more important than ever to support parents with many issues including isolation, loneliness, mental health, financial worries, disabilities and bereavement.
“We are looking for people who can pass forward some of their spare time and kindness to make a real difference to another person’s life. If you have the time, we have the role. Be a volunteer for Home-Start Cymru and make an impact on a child that will last a lifetime.”
Home-Start Cymru needs to recruit 150 volunteers to help respond to families after COVID. The charity has not only seen an increased demand, but also many volunteers who have worked with the charity for a long time stopped volunteering during the pandemic. New volunteers are required to respond to the need.
Home-Start Cymru works within 18 local authorities in Wales whose staff and trained volunteers offer parents compassionate, non-judgemental support. As part of the Home-visiting service, volunteers complete an in-depth training programme after which they are matched to a family who they visit once a week.
One mum described it as “life-changing” when her volunteer came every week to hold her colicky tearful baby, enabling her to shower in peace then sort out the paperwork. A disabled mum was given support to bake with her children in lockdown, and a refugee family was given the confidence to explore their local area thanks to their volunteer taking them out and about. A mum of a baby with Downs Syndrome, born with two holes in her heart requiring surgery, said her volunteer became a lifeline of emotional support that she hadn’t even realised she needed.
Bethan Webber said: “Volunteering is a wonderfully rewarding opportunity to give your time knowing it is making a big difference to a family in our community. It is such a simple concept but a mighty one. Our volunteers are of all ages, male and female, with many different backgrounds and experiences. Not all of them are parents.”
“Being a parent has never been easy. It can be lonely, frustrating, heart-breaking and overwhelming. Life-changing events can happen to anyone. That is why we are here to stand alongside families when they need us most – and we need more amazing volunteers to help us do that.”
If you can spare as little as an hour a week, you could help parents not just survive but thrive. As a Home-Start Cymru volunteer, you will be given training and support to be effective and make a real difference to families in your community. You will also develop transferable skills which can support you in your life, whether that’s at home or at work.
Lynne Powell, Volunteer Recruitment and Development Manager for Home-Start Cymru said: “Our roots in communities mean we are well placed to stand alongside families facing challenges in their lives. We are extremely proud of the achievements of Home-Start Cymru and the incredible work the expert staff and volunteers undertake locally. We look forward to welcoming more volunteers on board to help us continue our vital work.”
To register to become a Home-Start Cymru volunteer or find out more here about volunteering opportunities by visiting https://homestartcymru.org.uk/volunteer
(Lead image: Alex Hannam Photography)
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