Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge learns more about Home-Start and our support for children and families.
We are proud of our charitable work and long working relationship with Central Bedfordshire Council and before its abolition in 2009; Bedfordshire County Council.
We have been successful in delivering early intervention support to families with at least one child under the age of five for over 30 years and are a preferred provider for early intervention and child poverty for the council.
Our core charitable work is achieved through managing trained volunteers who visit referred families on a weekly basis for around two to nine months depending on the needs of the family in order to achieve a set of outcomes.
Families are predominantly defined as Early Help but we also work with more complex families such as children in need and children subject to a child protection plan, working in partnership with other agencies.
Our charitable work and support given is tailored to the family’s individual needs and circumstances. This includes:
See our charity’s latest news for updates on our work in the community.
Home-Start offers not only excellent value for money but generates long-term savings as well as improving lives for local families and children.
* For the 2017 period.
“Preventative services can do more to reduce abuse and neglect than reactive services.” – Prof Eileen Munro, The Munro Report into Child Protection 2011.
Early intervention forms the foundation of our charitable work and measurable success. Early Intervention addresses the root causes of social disadvantage, enabling children to flourish and preventing harmful and costly long-term outcomes.
Effective and timely early intervention prevents problems escalating and breaks intergenerational patterns of disadvantage and dysfunction. It also frees up agencies under pressure, such as Social Care, and prevents children from being taken into care with the subsequent poor outcomes for the child and the cost to local councils.
Late intervention has been proven to be not only expensive but also not an effective use of money as lives are rarely turned around.
Over the years we have also been asked to deliver additional services to our charitable work in the county. Central Bedfordshire Council has contracted our charity to deliver these services in response to the council’s priorities. This includes:
These ran at five Children’s Centres across Central Bedfordshire. 1 in 10 women experience post natal depression and/or anxiety. The groups, run by a trained facilitator helped women to learn and put in practice coping strategies for mental ill health, to reduce isolation and increase social support networks. The groups ran for five years and supported over 200 women.
Pattern Changing is a ten-week course for women who have experienced domestic abuse.
The course helps women regain confidence and self-esteem, explore personal experiences and learn practical strategies to gain empowerment and to change negative patterns of behaviour into positive ones.
The course is free and a free crèche is provided. Topics covered are:
“The course changed my life and gave me strength and belief in myself.”
Big Hopes, Big Future is an evidence-based school readiness programme that actively engages parents in their children’s early learning, supporting them to create a positive home learning environment for children and helping children fulfil their potential at nursery or school – and in later life.
BHBF uses parent volunteers to provide one to one support to families in the home supporting children in the years prior to nursery and primary school and targeting the most disadvantaged families including those who currently do not readily engage with their children’s early learning.
Specially trained Big Hopes Big Future volunteers:
The BHBF programme focuses on the following areas:
The partnership project with the charity Outside-iN was developed in order to meet the needs of families with children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or ADHD.
Since every child and family is unique there is not one single approach that suits everyone. We therefore put together a range of services which we called Tools that families could move between and could access more than one service at a time. The tools included home visiting volunteer support, a helpline, support groups, one to one coaching and parenting and condition awareness courses.
During the two years that the project ran 184 families were helped and parents reported that they valued the Toolkit approach.
This was a series of workshops to assist people with the skills needed to get into work. Topics covered included CV writing and interview skills, information about benefits. Attendees were also informed about volunteering as a way of acquiring confidence and experience in order to move into employment or further education.
This project aimed to help reduce child poverty in Central Bedfordshire by providing money saving workshops combined with a website.
The workshops looked at the effect of marketing and covered such topics as low/no cost toys and activities for children, up-cycling furniture and clothes, budgeting and cooking on a budget.
“Cheap, easy and affordable ideas which I can now do with my children.”
“I have learnt loads of ways to save money. I would always throw clothes away before but now I will be thinking what I can do with them.”
This was delivered for two years in 2007/8 to a variety of groups and parents. The programme concentrates on the role parents can play in reducing the risk of harmful drug use, giving skills and knowledge to assist parents in talking to their children about making good choices.
Other projects that we have delivered through grants and trust funding or donations are:
We set up and ran Freedom Programme in Leighton Buzzard for five years as a response to the number of referrals that we received where domestic abuse was an issue.
The programme provides information for victims of domestic abuse and examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors.
We delivered training and awareness workshops to professionals in Central Bedfordshire in partnership with Leighton Buzzard Children’s Centre.
This included the development of a DVD of interviews with various members of the traveller community.
This was in partnership with Child Poverty Action Group and Turn2Us
A team of trained volunteers checked that families were accessing the correct benefits and applied to grants and trust funds for needed articles.
A group for vulnerable families in Leighton Buzzard.
We were grateful to BBC Children in Need for funding our charitable work with this group for seven years. The group provided a safe, supportive environment for vulnerable parents and children. The aims of the group were to:
Home-Start Central Bedfordshire. A charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales, registered charity no. 1109262. Company Reg No. 5414484.