What do home visiting volunteers do?
Our volunteers visit families in their own home regularly (usually weekly) and offer parents and their children support, friendship, practical help, a listening ear and lots of encouragement.
They build warm and supportive relationships with children and parents, working together to overcome challenges and offering the kind of support that suits each family best.
The most important 'gift' our volunteers offer each family is their 'time' to listen and care. They offer some practical help, such as supporting families to attend appointments, helping them do their shopping and planning meals, making the home safer for the children, encouraging them to join in local groups and activities, have outings to the park and visit the local children centre to meet other families.
When needed volunteers will go with the family to meetings and appointments such as their doctor, citizens advice, social work meetings, often providing essential moral support.
Volunteers work ‘with’ parents to help them overcome their stresses and challenges and start to enjoy their children and family life.
Who are the Home-Start volunteers?
They are people from all backgrounds and all communities in our city who care about others and want to help make a difference.
They are usually parents themselves or are people that can show us they understand about the demands and challenges parents face raising a young family.
Just as there is no "typical" Home-Start family, similarly there is no "typical" Home-Start volunteer.
Volunteers bring learning from their own life experiences to their voluntary work, with many having overcome similar difficulties and challenges to those faced by the families they support.
Different families need different personalities and qualities in a volunteer. To help us have a suitable volunteer for each family, we try very hard to attract as diverse a range of people as possible.
What do we expect from our volunteers?
All of our volunteers are very special people, whatever their role they bring lots of valuable experience, life skills and knowledge to their voluntary work that helps us offer a unique, high quality service for children and families.
The families we support may be struggling with a variety of difficulties including, loneliness & isolation, post natal depression, physical or mental illness, disabilities, relationship difficulties, lone parenting, multiple births, unemployment, poverty.
Being a home visiting volunteer means offering support and friendship to parents and spending time with a family to help them overcome their difficulties and build confidence.
At Home-Start Leeds we expect our volunteers to:
- Be sensitive and caring towards others
- Be a warm and open person with a good sense of humour
- Be a good listener
- Be a good communicator
- Understand the importance of confidentiality
- Understand why it is important to be reliable
- Understand the need for support and guidance
- Be able to give time and enthusiasm to Home-Start and the families we help.
- Be able to work as part of a team
If you have warmth, commitment and a good sense of humour, maybe you could be a volunteer. We'd love to hear from you!
What can a Volunteer expect from Home-Start?
All of our volunteers are highly valued. We make a commitment to providing a high quality volunteering experience that is enjoyable and fun along with many opportunities for your own personal development.
As a Home-Start volunteer you will:
- Be well prepared and supported for your role
- Be entitled to claim all out of pocket expenses for your voluntary work with us
- Be fully protected by the scheme's insurance policy
- Have the right to withdraw from any activity or situation that you feel is inappropriate
- Have access at all times to a co-ordinator or other member of staff for support and guidance
- Have access to high quality learning and development opportunities
- Be entitled to ask for references after six month volunteering with us
- Have the opportunity to join with other volunteers, staff, trustees and families for celebrations and other social events
- Be represented on our Board of Trustees
How do I ask about being a home visiting volunteer?
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer with us we would love to hear from you.
Please call us on 0113 244 2419, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or pop into our office, where you will be welcomed with a cup of tea or coffee and biscuit.
We will make an appointment for you to attend an initial interview that is relaxed and informal. Home-visiting volunteers will meet with our volunteer recruitment worker. Volunteers interested in other roles will meet with a member of staff relevant to the work you are interested in doing.
At your interview, we will tell you all about Home-Start, what is expected of our volunteers, find out about you and why you are interested in being a volunteer with us and answer your questions.
You will be asked to complete a 'volunteer application form' which we can help you with if needed.
In addition to asking you about yourself, the volunteers application form needs you to provide the names and contact details for two character references, people that have known you at least 2 years, and to disclose any criminal record. This will not necessarily bar you from volunteering with us.
What happens after I have enquired?
When we receive your fully completed application form we will send for your references.
People interested in being a home visiting volunteer will be then contacted by one of our 'co-ordinators' who will arrange to visit you at home to talk in more depth about our expectations and why you would like to be a volunteer with us.
If you and our co-ordinator feel that Home-Start Leeds is right for you, you will be invited to join one of our 'volunteer preparation courses'.
Our courses, which last 45 hrs in total, take place at our office at various times and days to fit in with the volunteers commitments, ie short days/longer days/evenings/weekends.
Completion of our preparation course is the final stage of our selection process. The course is relaxed, informal and fun. You will learn about being a volunteer, get to know the Home-Start team and meet other new potential volunteers.
During the preparation course we will arrange for your Enhanced DBS check to take place.
If you need a little extra support to become a volunteer, we offer a 'mentor' from amongst our experienced volunteers to give you some extra support to help you prepare for the role.
On satisfactory completion of our selection process (completion of preparation course, receipt of satisfactory references and DBS check) our co-ordinators will very quickly match you with your first family to support.