There are many reasons why people volunteer to make a difference in their community. Here’s my story about how I came to support Home-Start.
When my first child was born, I suffered from post-natal depression. I went to the doctors and was prescribed anti-depressants. Due to the stigma of taking them, I decided against it. Instead, I stayed in the house for six months; during this time I felt lonely and silly about the way I was feeling. I thought I had a close group of friends. However, I soon realised they were only colleagues. They were not interested in a lady with a baby.
With the help of toddler groups and coffee mornings, I soon found like-minded people. It was these people who supported and got me through my dark days.
Seven years later I had my third child. When she reached three years old, she got diagnosed with kidney disease. We spent many days and weeks backwards and forwards to hospitals, both local and in London. My boys often got left with family and friends. During this time, my oldest child’s behaviour started to become challenging. He became angry and argumentative. My middle child grew to be insular; clinging to family members and not wanting to spend time with anyone else.
Hearing about Home-Start, it made me think what a difference it would have made to my family. I wondered whether things would have been better for them. How would it have been if my two oldest children had a consistent adult in their lives who could give them the time and energy they craved?
My daughter had her transplant, and things started to get less hectic. I felt like I wanted to do something positive for others in a similar situation. I soon decided to volunteer to make a difference in the lives of other local families. Home-Start gives them the support I wasn’t fortunate enough to have. Volunteers help to ensure children and their feelings are not ignored due to challenging family circumstances. Volunteering with the charity makes a huge difference for both parents and their children.
I feel very privileged to have been able to volunteer and dedicate my time and energy to empower families. It has made me realise that life isn’t straightforward and everyone has different coping mechanisms. Also, it has highlighted to me that not everyone comes from a good family background. Many have not had the opportunity to learn vital life skills.
Since volunteering my confidence has grown significantly. Where I would sometimes struggle to make conversations, I have found I can now fill those awkward silences. It has also helped me to gain knowledge in Domestic Abuse and Child Protection. Most importantly, volunteering helps you realise that knowledge and skills you take for granted can empower others who are less fortunate.
Do you want to volunteer to make a difference? Discover what you can gain from joining our team.