As Home-Start Kennet celebrates its thirtieth birthday - there's a call for new trustees
Local charities like Home-Start Kennet cannot exist without a strong and committed board of trustees. After thirty years helping families in the area, they have extended their reach and need new trustees to help support this work.
The organisation, which is based in Pewsey, finds and trains volunteers to help families with young children who are finding life difficult.
It's the sort of early intervention that can help families avoid a crisis. A young mother was feeling increasingly isolated, and struggling to cope as a single parent. She was carefully matched with a local volunteer, with whom she quickly developed a very positive relationship.
She now uses volunteer support as an opportunity to get out of the house with the children to go for a walk, or to visit a local children’s park. She had been struggling to make new friends, but with the support of her volunteer she has recently made contact with a network of local people, and now regularly attends family group meetings.
Marlborough.news asked one of the charity's current trustees why she'd decided to become involved:
"I had recently retired from employment and was seeking ways to become involved with my local community, something I'd never really had time to do before due to long hours, commuting, etc. I was also looking for ways to utilise my skills and keep the brain cells active."
"My research into Home-Start as a national organisation, and Home-Start Kennet (HSK) in particular, convinced me that their objectives and the way they go about helping young families facing challenges are really important to communities in Wiltshire. And not only that but they are very successful in what they do."
"For example HSK's most recent research shows that over 95 per cent of families supported are satisfied or very satisfied with the assistance they have received. Moreover 93 per cent of volunteers find their work very meaningful and most would recommend HSK to others who are interested in volunteering."
"Having met the Scheme Manager and attended a board meeting I was extremely impressed with the way HSK was managed. This finally convinced me that I wanted to become a trustee."
"What would I tell a potential trustee? Firstly, that for 30 years HSK has been offering friendship, support and practical help to parents with at least one child under five in their own homes. These families need help for a number of reasons: emotional, financial, isolation, etc. The latter being a particular concern for military families who are based in our region."
"Then I would explain that this support is provided by our volunteers who all have parenting experience. They visit the families in their own homes every week for a specified period to provide help in whatever way is best suited to the family concerned."
"I'd give an outline of HSK's structure with a Scheme Manager and a very efficient team of Family Support Officers based in our office in Pewsey."
What sort of commitment does a trustee need to make? "It's at least 8-10 hours a month spent attending board and committee meetings, helping with fundraising and other projects."
"HSK's service is totally confidential. The volunteers provide a skilled listening ear, so that parents themselves can find constructive solutions to the problems they are facing."
"Finally, I would tell them how much I have enjoyed my first year with HSK. What a superb team we currently have in place and how welcome all the trustees made me feel once I had joined."
For anyone who's interested in being an HSK trustee there's a very helpful introductory leaflet for potential trustees to read and full details on HSK's website.