Home-Start Kennet wins another grant to help local families - and to expand
The local charity Home-Start Kennet has secured a substantial grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund to fund its work supporting families with young children.
This grant of £375,411 over three years will help secure its future, but still means the charity must raise at least £30,000 a year to match this funding.
Home-Start Kennet, which is now in its twenty-ninth year, provides a very special service: it trains local volunteers so they can support families with young children in their own homes.
Many young families face problems with household budgeting, husbands working away from home, multiple births or rural isolation. These volunteers can help them back onto their feet and prevent small problems growing into bigger and overwhelming ones that need intervention from social services.
This Big Lottery grant will enable the charity to continue its current work in the Marlborough, Devizes, Tidworth and Pewsey community areas, but also to expand its support services to young families in Chippenham and Calne.
Like many other charities, Home-Start Kennet has lost its local authority funding and has survived thanks to a previous grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund in 2013 - and, importantly, continuing efforts by trustees and staff to raise the necessary match funding. The Big Lottery will only fund a proportion of an applicant's project costs.
Over the last three years the charity has received money from Wiltshire Public Health for specific work with local military and military veterans' families.
Families are referred to Home-Start Kennet's Pewsey headquarters mainly by health visitors, but also by many health and care professionals. And a small number of families refer themselves.
Home-Start Kennet relies on its volunteers who get 40 hours of initial training from professionals. They currently have 39 volunteers working with them.
Bel Crompton, Home-Start Kennet's scheme manager, told Marlborough News Online: "We are always looking to strengthen and expand our volunteer team - especially as we move into new areas. Their local knowledge is key to our understanding of communities and their families."
One mother who had been supported by a volunteer told Bel Crompton: "I can honestly say that without the help and support of my volunteer I would not have got through this most difficult time of my life...The volunteer gave me the motivation and self belief I needed to get my jobs done and my life back on track."
Home-Start Kennet is affiliated to Home-Start UK - the umbrella organisation that provides guidance and advice, but no financial support. It ensures Home-Starts around the country are up to standard. Last year Home-Start Kennet got 100 per cent in their Quality Assurance review.
Home-Start Kennet employs a small team of part-time staff based at the Fordbrook Business Park in Pewsey - additional part-time members of staff will now be recruited.
Supporting a family costs from £1,500 to £1,800 - mainly in staff and training costs and in travel expenses. With this new grant Home-Start Kennet will be able to recruit more volunteers.
Julianna Ridsdale, a health visitor based at Calne, is running in this year’s London Marathon in aid of Home-Start Kennet. She has a Virgin Money Giving fundraising page - here - for anyone who would like to sponsor her.