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Christmas is all about families coming together, and no charity understands the importance of family more than Home-Start Goole & District, so it was only right we put the spotlight on them for this festive edition of Our Goole.

Home-Start Goole & District was established over two decades ago and has supported a growing number of local families with young children each year since
The scheme recruits and trains volunteers to visit local families with at least one child under eight years of age who need some extra support in times of difficulty. The families they support may feel isolated, lonely or have depression or a disability.

The incredible charity has been supporting families in the Goole area for the last 21 years. Last year alone 48 volunteers supported 56 local families with 108 children.

Senior Organiser, Angie Bailey, told Our Goole: ‘We are proud to say that 95% of the families we asked told us that they were very satisfied with our support. The charity celebrated three years of Big Lottery funding in May and were delighted to be awarded continuation funding until 2019.’

Gill Pirt, the original organiser of the scheme, retired this year, however, she hopes to continue her involvement by joining the Trustees on the Management Committee. The impact Home-Start volunteers can have is huge, with families appreciating the non-judgmental and friendly nature of the service. Volunteers enable families to take control of their own lives once again by listening, encouraging and helping them to build on their existing skills.

One parent said: ‘I was suffering with depression and my volunteer encouraged me to do little things such as go shopping – just a little bit of social interaction with or without the kids. Gradually I was encouraged to do more when I was out like taking the time to get a coffee and eventually making new friends.’
Home-Start holds an International Parents Support Group meeting every Thursday from 9am to 11.30am at The Courtyard, Goole for parents to come along and meet other mums and dads to share ideas, listen to speakers from local agencies and help each other to learn about the different nationalities we have in Goole.

Pre-school children are welcome and parents can choose to drop in for twenty minutes or stay for two hours for a cuppa and a chat. Volunteering for Home-Start also has benefits, as pointed out by someone who completed Home-Start’s Preparation Course following retirement. They said: ‘It would have been easy to become isolated and depressed but volunteering with Home-Start has prevented that.’

Home-Start is also training current volunteers to support parents in preparing their children for starting school following a pilot project funded by the Department of Education. This support will be available to families from January 2017 and the aim is to help parents become actively engaged in their children’s early learning to improve their overall life chances.

Angie told Our Goole: ‘I joined Home-Start over 10 years ago, first as a volunteer and then as a member of staff. I feel privileged to be involved in the development of the scheme and look forward to providing support for many more local families in the future.

‘Please get in touch with us on 01405 769966 if you feel you would like support from a volunteer or pop along to the weekly group meeting to find out more about what we can offer.’

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