Home-Start believes that children need a happy and secure childhood and that parents play the key role in giving their children a good start in life and helping them to achieve their full potential.
Home-Start West Dorset is a local independent charity which has been set up to give friendship, advice and practical support to families who live in the West Dorset area and who have at least one child under the age of 5.
This need was identified by through local interest meetings, survey of health visitors and liaison with other community agencies, particularly the Children's Centres. The total number of under 5s in West Dorset is 4,370 and approximately 2,180 are living in access deprived households which represents the top 20% of most deprived areas nationally. More than 3,400 of West Dorset children and young people live in benefit-dependent households. Thanks to a Big Lottery Grant Home-Start West Dorset was launched in March 2009. To provide our service we recruit and train volunteers who are parents themselves. The volunteers are provided with 40 hours of free accredited training in order to prepare themselves for a family support role.
The volunteer is then carefully matched to a family and will visit them in the family home for 2-3 hours a week.
Families can refer themselves to us as well as being referred by health visitors, GPs, social workers and other agencies.
We will provide a support service to families who meet our criteria as long as we have an appropriate volunteer to help. The volunteers are supported by on-going back-up, review and training.
We have recently received a very positive Quality Standards Review from Home-Start UK.