Volunteer Preparation Training Course


Take a look at our volunteering page to find out more about what is involved in becoming a home-visiting volunteer.  

Recent comment from a 'graduate' volunteer: 

"I absolutely loved doing this course, all the staff and organisers have been very helpful and friendly. I especially loved working in groups as it has built up my confidence, and others in our group, which I'm sure will help us in our roles as Home-Start volunteers."

The course will be:

  • From 9.30am to 2.00pm (with coffee and lunch breaks)
  • For ten weeks (excluding school holidays).
  • Offers the opportunity to obtain accreditation from CERTA (the Open College Network)

The course covers:

Week 1 - Introduction and the role of a volunteer - looking at volunteers expectations, hopes and concerns. Why Home-Start is needed, how volunteers can help families, the principles of Home-Start and how families are referred.

Week 2 - Becoming a Home-Start volunteer - discussing why people volunteer and why choose Home-Start. Talk about expectations Home-Start has of its volunteers and what a helpful relationship should look like, whilst also thinking about the what the needs might be of the parents and children we work with.

Week 3 - How Home-Start helps families - looking further into how Home-Start helps families and the process of getting started as a volunteer. Discussing why and how Home-Start can be different to other services on offer, how it might feel to be a family having visits and looking at the necessary recording paperwork.

Week 4 - Being a Home-Start volunteer - looking at the support and supervision available to Home-Start volunteers and how to keep safe. Looking at the commitments and boundaries of volunteering and the process of saying goodbye to a supported family.

Week 5 - Values and attitiudes - a fun session looking at the values and attitudes of our new volunteers. Having the chance to discuss and question your own opinions and attitudes to a number of different scenarios and consider your reactions and responses and those of the families you may be supporting.

Week 6 - Family life and supporting parents - looking at the difficulties and stresses some families may face and particularly focusing on additional needs, depression and domestic abuse (for example). Also talking about the impact on a volunteer of supporting families in sometimes difficult circumstances.

Week 7 - Parents and their children - this session covers lots of elements such as practical aspects, responsibilities, emotions, outside influences and pressures, highs and lows! Looking at how we learn to be a parent and how to help parents be 'good enough'. Also discussions around encouraging positive discipline and playing together.

Week 8 - Listening to families and confidentiality - as trainee volunteers now have a better understanding of the scheme and are familiar with their fellow trainees, this session involves some (minimal) role play around listening, with discussions on what is confidentiality and why it is important in the home-visiting volunteer role.

Week 9 - Safeguarding children/child protection - looking into safeguarding and child protection issues that may be faced, the classifications of abuse, what is acceptable, what to do if concerned, the records Home-Start keep and the policies and systems in place.

Week 10 - Bringing the course to a close - a time to reflect on the topics covered and the exciting role ahead.

Group size is usually between 10-14 which creates successful group working and team bonding.

Please contact us if you are interested in attending the next course - we would love to hear from you!


Take a look at our volunteering page to find out more about what's involved in being a Home-Start West Dorset home-visiting volunteer.

We look forward to hearing from you - please contact us on 01305 265072 or email us for more information, or download and complete the Volunteer Application form, post or email it to us and then we will be in touch with you!

HSWD Volunteer application form

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