Supporting Families In The Foundation Years

Do you believe that every family deserves support when they are struggling to cope? We do. Discover how we are supporting families in the foundation years in Central Bedfordshire and Luton.

supporting families in the foundation years

The foundation years are important for both children and their families. Our charity’s services supporting families in the foundation years are vital in providing children with the best start in life. Home-Start volunteers are local parents who give their time to support other parents in their community. Every struggling family’s situation is unique but we know that supporting families together works.

Our family support charity gives help to local families with at least one child under the age of five. Supporting the family unit as a whole, gives effective support to the youngest children. Support the parent = support for the child.

“We know, and every bit of evidence backs up our claims, that early intervention – support within the first 1001 days of life – makes the greatest impact on the life chances of a child. It is why I fight so hard for Home-Start and the work our volunteers do.” – Lara Norris, chief executive, Home-Start Hertfordshire says in this news article.

Dawn’s Story

Continually getting very little sleep is tough. Couple that with the challenges of looking after a much loved little boy with a variety of health issues meant that Dawn and her whole family were struggling to cope. Dawn and her husband have three children aged 10, 7 and 3. Tom the middle child is diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, low muscle tone, learning difficulties, chronic sleep and sensory issues. As a result of Tom’s complex needs, Dawn barely had the time to get anything done. She couldn’t give any time to her other children as she was so busy caring for Tom.

family support charity

The family were matched with Home-Start volunteer Carolyn. She visited the family on a regular basis, providing help with the children, practical support and emotional support for Dawn.

Dawn says “Having Carolyn come to our house for a couple of hours each week, made such a huge difference to us. We quickly found that we would look forward to her visit every week. She was super with my son who loved spending time with her. Carolyn would play with him, read with him and give him quality one to one time. That time gave me the opportunity to cook meals, tidy, clean or organise paperwork. As well as being with my son, Carolyn proved to be a good emotional support to me too. Just having her there to chat to, was really very good for me.

Home-Start are an excellent charity who have made more difference than I thought possible. We could not be more grateful for the work they do and the difference they make to people’s lives similar to my own.”

A Family Support Charity

As a local family support charity, we believe that it is crucial to spend time with parents and their young children. Effective and timely early intervention for families prevents problems escalating. Supporting families in the foundation years improves the likelihood of a good family life in the future.

“The first years of a child’s life play a vital role in their development. They are foundational in ensuring that children thrive and flourish but sometimes these important years are met with difficulty and parents need extra support to help them through. Home-Start Central Bedfordshire provides a great breadth of additional support to families who would otherwise not receive it and, having been the Chair of the organisation for many years, I have witnessed with pride the positive difference that has been made to so many families in the local community.” – Sue Fuchter, Chair Of Trustees. Home-Start Central Bedfordshire.

The LARC3 (Local Authority Research Consortium) found that community-based support such as Home-Start was cost effective, provided the type of support that families responded to and that outcomes for children were improved.

“A central component of Home-Start’s service is to provide support early, before family problems or pressures evolve into deeper and more challenging forms of family crisis. This early intervention approach enables families to strengthen their own capabilities and gives them a vital source of sustained support. Given the difficult social and economic forces that are currently affecting families across the country, it is my hope that Home-Start will continue to steadfastly support vulnerable families.” – Graham Allen MP

Supporting Families Together

Home-Start volunteers supporting families together can have a lasting positive effect on the lives of children and parents. It can also benefit the local community as a whole. Supporting families in the foundation years and reaching children in the early stages of development has a variety of benefits.

“Research consistently suggests that parenting support which is based on sound scientific principles, consistently delivered by appropriately trained and supervised practitioners, can reduce risk factors in families, improve outcomes for children, young people and their parents and reduces the burden of cost these families place on local services and wider society. A growing body of research has shown that early family/parent training can result in measurable reductions in youth crime, antisocial and delinquent behaviour, child maltreatment, school failure and child and adolescent mental health problems.” Moran, P. et al (2004)

As a voluntary organisation, we train and provide opportunities for parents in Bedfordshire to join our cause. Home-Start Central Bedfordshire offers help to families with young children who are struggling with issues including isolation, disabilities, bereavement and much more.

“I saw an article about HS in our school newsletter. It came at the right time as my youngest child was starting nursery. I liked the idea of being able to help other Mums because I felt that I could have done with some support with my own children when they were young. I wanted to help other Mums in the same position…” – A Home-Start Central Bedfordshire Volunteer.