Families struggling to cope will have somewhere to turn, thanks to a grant of £4,929 from Suffolk Freemasons to Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk
The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will support a service which helps parents who have at least one child under five. Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk looks at the challenges the parents can encounter and provides encouragement, understanding and help. In particular they will look at:
- The child’s physical needs and development
- Dealing with their child’s challenging behaviour
- Support to play and interact with their child
- Enabling parents to facilitate their child’s language development
- Help with their child going to pre-school and school and being school ready
Other issues where parents may seek support include post-natal depression, mental health problems, depression and loneliness and isolation.
Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk’s work is all about early intervention which prevents a problem becoming a crisis. They empower parents to help themselves through the support of trained, dedicated volunteers who are parents themselves or have parenting experience.
Staff train and support the volunteers to enable them to support parents either within the home visiting service or within the family group settings. Through the home visiting service a volunteer will visit and support a parent in their home for two or three hours on a weekly basis for a few months.
The family groups are run by a staff member with the support of the volunteers who help for two hours a week. Parents attend with their children. In some areas the charity also has some groups run by volunteers with the support of staff. Volunteers also help at occasional family groups which are specifically for dads to come with their children for a few hours a month.
Carol Read, Chair of Trustees at Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk, said: 'Anyone who has children knows how difficult it can be in the best of circumstances. We use the skills and experience of our volunteers to help those parents who are in need of support. We’re very grateful to Suffolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to provide essential advice and encouragement to people who really need it.'
David Clarke, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk, commented: 'We are very pleased to be able to help Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk, who do outstanding work providing support for local families. Their trained and dedicated volunteers help to prevent a problem becoming a crisis.'