Local charity Home Start are on the lookout for people who know the value of a friend when times get hard – and are willing to volunteer some time to make a difference.
Home Start provides support and friendship for families going through tough times for any number of reasons. It is the Mayor of Reading’s charity of the year and a winner of the Pride of Reading awards.
Marion Mortimer, Home-Visiting Co-ordinator of Home Start Reading said: “We are working to capacity. We have 39 active volunteers with the longest serving volunteer working for 14 years. We have 11 new volunteers who are just getting ready to be linked with their families.
“We need more people because we also have 32 families waiting for help.”
Home Start needs people with parenting experience, be it a parent, child minder, aunt or uncle for instance. They will also need two to three hours a week to spare.
“It is a fun course, not heavy and academic,” said Marion. “We now offer an accredited version of our training course, where you are able to study at a level 1 or level 2 qualification standard.
“You will receive formal confirmation from CERTA that you have received 3 credits which can go towards accessing higher education or a qualification that relates to the Children’s Workforce Strategy such as a teaching assistant qualification.
“The 10-week interactive course shows the needs of a family, looks at what it means to be a volunteer, how to safeguard children, communication skills and how to provide support to the family.”
Training takes place in Whitley, from January 20 to March 31.
“On completion of the course we match volunteers’ experience, interest and strengths with a family. There is ongoing training and supervision and volunteers are well supported.
“Home Start is not a quick fix organisation, we have a longer term approach. We will stay with a family for as long as it takes.”