Investment theme: Improving health and well-being, Moving on from violence
How the Women’s Fund for Scotland has helped Home-Start.
Home-Start Glasgow North is a voluntary organisation set up to increase the confidence and independence of families with at least one child under five years old. The organisation selects, trains and supports volunteers to visit families in their own homes offering support, friendship and practical assistance to the parents for the ultimate benefit of the child/children.
In March 2015 the Women’s Fund for Scotland awarded Home-Start Glasgow North £1,357 to contribute to the training costs for a staff member to deliver the STEPS course to a Home-Start Glasgow North client group and to cover volunteer training for Home-Start Glasgow North and South. With an increasing demand for Home-Start services in the North of Glasgow, the funding, which resulted in the success of trained volunteers, has meant the organisation can fulfil some of the demand.
STEPS is a course that is proven to help participants develop confidence and motivation in order to move towards a better future where they fulfill their potential. It has been shown to have a positive impact on people in a wide variety of situations, including parents, unemployed people, ex-offenders and people who for any reason have low self-esteem. The grant enabled Home-Start Glasgow North’s perinatal support co-ordinator to be trained to deliver the course and the scheme now has two qualified STEPS facilitators. It is anticipated the course will run twice a year with an average of six attendees each time.
Twelve participants commenced the Volunteer Training and Assessment Course which is undertaken by two co-ordinators. Home-Start’s administrator, Aleks Sobieraj, attended the training course as felt she would get a better understanding if she participated herself. She said; “The course is a great opportunity to see the potential volunteers learn, grow, share their experiences and also gain confidence with every session. It is a wonderful chance for them to see that their skills, parental and general life experiences matter and are as much of value to the vulnerable families as any other set of skills.”
Home-Start Glasgow North have a partnership with the Bridges Programme who work with the asylum and refugee community in Glasgow who focus on work based interventions and work/volunteer experience. Two of the volunteer training attendees were referred through this partnership. Elina Silich, Bridges programme caseworker says; “For our clients it helps to improve their confidence, language and communication skills. Working with Home-Start allows them to understand the difficulties families are facing and helps them to integrate into their local communities. Volunteering is also great for their CVs.”
Progress made and Future Plans for Home-Start Glasgow North
Home-Start Glasgow North have 50 home-visiting volunteers supporting families throughout the north of the city. Seven of the volunteers who attended the training course will each support a family on completion of their training and the remaining volunteer will join family group. Home-Start aim to have a family on the waiting list no longer than six weeks. Training courses have been scheduled for September and October for future new volunteers.
How Home-Start Glasgow North has helped vulnerable women.
The length of time a family is supported averages between six to 12 months. In this time Home-Start aims to help people grow in confidence and resilience, enabling them to build better lives for themselves and their children.
It is not just the families who benefit from Home-Start, many of the volunteers have been with the organisation for a number of years. Silvana Bilan has been volunteering for Home-Start since February 2009; “I started volunteering as part of my studies in social care and fell in love with Home-Start so I have continued to volunteer part time.” Silvana speaks three languages therefore can communicate with families from different cultures. She continued; “I am always happy to volunteer and visit families, it has become part of my daily life.”
“I was a young teenage mum and went through some very bad times. I know what it is like to feel stigmatised and need help and support. I want to be there for people who are in the same situation I have been in. Due to my circumstances I cannot get a full time job so I decided to volunteer. The training has taught me policies and procedures such as child protection, which has increased my own confidence and self-esteem.” – Wendy, who attended the training course earlier this year and is looking forward to becoming a volunteer praised the project.
Another newly qualified volunteer Mariam said; “I am a single parent who has been through difficult times. I thought I could help others by sharing my experiences and letting them know they are not alone. The training course has raised my confidence in my ability to do this and help the families.”
STEPS has been proven to improve higher levels of motivation, increase self-belief and self-esteem, giving individuals greater expectations of success with improved levels of personal accountability. Many of the families Home-Start support are single-parent women, who have experienced some sort of domestic abuse, which has a huge impact on a woman’s confidence, self-esteem and mental health. By attending the STEPS course it will help her become stronger and move on from her bad experiences. Home-Start aims for all families, and children to have access to resources which will make everyday life less stressful and more enjoyable. Most of all, to give children the best possible start in life. If you’ve been moved by this story please do just one thing – get in touch with Shona to learn more about investing in the Women’s Fund for Scotland.