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Charity seeking volunteers to help families with difficulties

PUBLISHED: 12:22 20 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:22 20 April 2016

Home Start volunteers help families with young children

Home Start volunteers help families with young children

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Volunteers share their experiences to help other families deal with their problems

A Dartford charity is looking for volunteers to support families with young children in communities throughout the county.

Home Start North West Kent offers help to parents dealing with issues such as post-natal depression, isolation and domestic abuse by partnering them with a volunteer who has experienced similar difficulties.

It is running a ten-week training course beginning on May 3 for people who will then put their knowledge into practice.

The course covers a different topic every week, including mental health, special needs and parent-child attachment.

Manager Debbie Bowler said: “It is aimed at new recruits, but they need to be parents. They will be individually matched with local families that are going through a difficult time.

“By the time we finish the course we know each individual fairly well. We home visit a family referred to us, they tell their story, and then our job is to match the most appropriate volunteer.

“The volunteers make a weekly visit. Some of them visit more than one family, but they all see at least one.

“These are families that wouldn’t be getting out often due to depression or domestic abuse, for example.

“Such people may be housed away from their area and need to start again, and a volunteer can build that relationship slowly in their home and build their confidence.

“The volunteer will in time help to show them that they can move through the situation, and give them a chance to talk things through and share ideas for coping.”

Home Start works with partnership agencies and social services, but it is the only agency that offers weekly contact with families.

Ms Bowler said volunteering with the charity often proves to be a rewarding experience.

“Time and time again the volunteers say I always knew I wanted to volunteer, and I knew I would be helping other people, but I didn’t realise that I would be helping myself,” she said.

“We work with about 60 to 70 trained volunteers at any one time, but we are looking in Gravesend at the moment because we have a shortage there.”

The training course will run from Tuesday, May 3 between 10am and 2pm at Temple Hill Community Centre, Dartford.

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