Home-Start support gives children better start in life

Home-Start volunteers: Back row (left to right) - Carol Ann Leslie, Elaine West, Elizabeth Airs, Front row - Wendy Bain. Angie Christie and Kirstie Swales.
Home-Start volunteers: Back row (left to right) - Carol Ann Leslie, Elaine West, Elizabeth Airs, Front row - Wendy Bain. Angie Christie and Kirstie Swales.

Newly published academic research has demonstrated that Home-Start’s volunteer support service has a positive impact for parents who are struggling to cope with their young families.

The research also shows that children whose parents have had the support of a Home-Start volunteer have a better start in life than those who don’t.

The three year research project, by Jo Hermanns and others at the Universities of Amsterdam and Uttrecht, also reveals that children are still benefiting up to three years after their Home-Start volunteer has stopped visiting.

Home-Start North East Aberdeenshire, based in Fraserburgh, supports children and families in Fraserburgh, Peterhead and the surrounding rural areas, who haveat least one child under the age of five.

The scheme is one of more than 300 local Home-Starts across the UK. Last year in Scotland over ,5500 children weresupported by Home-Start volunteers.

Volunteer parents are trained before being matched with other parents struggling to cope.

They visit every week for a couple of hours to provide practical and emotional support tailored to that family’s needs.

Flora Todd, chairperson says, “This research proves that the support of a volunteer parent while you are struggling to bring up a young family is good for you and good for your children. It gives them a better start in life.”

Researchers compared three groups of parents. for the study.