Home-Start Croydon is a local independent charity founded in 1989; we are part of the UK-wide network of over 200 Home-Start schemes. For over 30 years we have been committed to supporting local families, in their own homes and the wider community, who are experiencing difficulties or suffering stress and who have at least one child under the age of five years.
Families struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement, poverty and many other issues are able to receive support from a Home-Start Croydon volunteer. We are also innovating to develop a range of additional home and community based services to meet the needs of our local families. This includes drop-in groups, perinatal mental health programmes, support groups for young parents and outdoor play activities. The relationship between the family and volunteers is the key to our success and is entirely voluntary. It means they develop a relationship built on trust and understanding, which is the basis of our support.
Our award-winning Parent Champion programme has been running since 2016; the role of a Parent Champion is to ensure that all families are aware of the local provisions for early education, childcare, access to children’s centres, etc. A Parent Champion volunteer isn’t allocated to an individual family; instead they work in their own communities, ensuring that their neighbours and friends are as well-equipped as they can be to provide the best start in life for their children. They do this either by visiting existing groups, speaking to parents in the community or by creating their own peer-to-peer support groups to attract parents to them.
One such support group we run is for young mums at risk of loneliness and isolation; #BOOST was launched in September 2018 and has gone from strength to strength. We have seen new friendships being made, confidence increasing, new ideas and young mums coming to terms with what being a parent means.