THE recent Volunteer Week (June 3-9, 2024) highlighted the many benefits of volunteering, both for the volunteers themselves and those they support.

When local families need a helping hand, Home-Start Herefordshire is there to support them. The organisation is nonprofit and offers support during challenging times to families, regardless of their background, with one or more children aged from birth to 18.

Home-Start Herefordshire has been operating in the county for over 40 years and is one of 180 local Home-Starts across the country. Mandie Preece, Scheme Manager, explains: “Our volunteers spend 2/3 hours a week supporting families in their own homes, helping parents in a non-judgmental way by offering understanding, a listening ear, and practical help to address each family’s needs and help them progress.

“The only requirements to become a Home-Start Herefordshire volunteer” she continued, “are a friendly and caring attitude and an understanding of the pressures of parenting. After completing the charity’s preparation training, our volunteers play a vital role in helping the families the charity supports on a one-to-one basis.”

Volunteer Kate shared her experience: “Being a HomeStart volunteer has not only allowed me to feel like I am making a difference to those who may not have anyone around, but it has also allowed me to be there for them at a time when they need someone the most.”

Volunteer recruitment is a continuous process at HomeStart Herefordshire, with training available throughout the year and delivered by experienced trainers. Training is designed to familiarise volunteers with the charity’s ethos and the diverse needs of the families they may support in the future.

Ongoing training, support, and opportunities for social engagement are provided to ensure volunteers feel well prepared and confident in their home visiting role. If you are interested in volunteering at Home-Start Herefordshire, please call 01432 371 264 or email admin@ hshere