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Charity begins at Home
A CHARITY which supports families in need is hoping to find more funding and volunteers to help keep it running in the town.
Home Start in Basingstoke is part of the national charity which offers support, friendship, a listening ear and practical help to families with children.
Volunteers all have parenting experience and offer one to two hours of their time a week to families or run support groups.
The Basingstoke charity, based in Cliddesden Road, has around 45 volunteers, but needs £90,000 a year to run. Some of that funding is given by the council, but around half has to be raised by the charity.
Jeanette Hewitt, vice-chair of the trustees, said: “We help all sorts of people. For example, if the mother of a disabled child becomes so desperate she can’t look after the child, we can come in and help her through that initial period and prevent it getting worse.
“Sometimes it’s helping someone to get into a routine or we might just help with shopping or going to the doctors. It can be quite low-level support, but it’s just enough to stop them slipping.”
Jo Attridge, a trustee and volunteer, added: “We don’t want families to become dependent on us. The idea is for them to move out of the problem with our help. The fact they know someone is coming once a week is enough to stop them spiralling out of control. It’s incredibly satisfying as a volunteer.”
Those helped by the charity include mothers suffering from post-natal depression or young, single mums in need of extra help. The charity also runs support groups, including a multiple birth group for mothers who have given birth to twins, triplets and quads.
Gill Keightley gave birth to twins Alice and Daisy two years ago, and was referred to Home Start for support. The 36-year-old from Tadley said: “It can be difficult with one adult and two children.”
Mrs Keightley is visited by a volunteer from Home Start and she also attends the multiple birth group and a parent support group in Tadley.
She said: “The volunteer will help me take the girls to the library or the park. It’s the things that I would find difficult on my own.
“Having twins is difficult but having someone to come and talk to, it’s friendship as well. Going to the multiple birth group, I get to meet other parents of twins so we can share our experiences. It’s the small things which really help.”
Anyone interested in supporting the charity or volunteering opportunities should email firstname.lastname@example.org.