These volunteers must have parenting experience and, before they are matched with a family, go through a training programme and have an enhanced criminal records check.
The trustees, who manage Home-Start Bristol, are also volunteers. They receive special preparation for their role within the charity too.
All areas of volunteering are very rewarding…but don’t take our word for it – read the personal experiences of some of our home-visiting volunteers and of our families we support.
Volunteers often report a sense of satisfaction gained from being able to make a different to people’s lives.
“Becoming a volunteer exceeded my expectations. The course was informative and gave me a hunger to learn more…..I enjoyed the feeling of being useful.
It has contributed to me getting a job – I have become a child minder and am completing my level 3 diploma – working with children.
Without HS I would never have had the confidence to restart my education. I am not sure what route I will take yet, maybe working in a school or social care. HS was the starting point for my new beginning!”
“After seeing a close friend go through post natal depression I felt I wanted to help other mums…..the reality exceeded my expectation. It was not always easy but the supervision and support I received was fantastic – I always felt I could phone the office….I loved all the training opportunities and being able to put it into practice with the families I worked with.
Home-Start go above and beyond to look after their volunteers and provide training opportunities. It has helped me get onto my Foundation degree which I have now finished.
I am about to start my 3rd year BA Hons. Also during my time with HSB I got a job as a family support worker and I have no doubt my HS experience enabled me to get that job. I am leaving because I am increasing my hours there. I want to say a big thank you to everyone at HSB – it has been such a positive experience and a real turning point in my life.”
Would You Make a Good Volunteer?
All of our volunteers are parents themselves or have had substantial parenting experience. As such our volunteers understand the challenges of family life.
Our volunteers need to be able to offer 2-3 hours of their time, regularly each week and have some spare time to attend support meetings. We ask that volunteers make a year’s commitment to the scheme.
We will offer you a full training programme so that you feel confident to take on the role of a Home-Start visitor. The training covers such issues as what it is like to visit a family, Confidentiality, Safe-guarding children, Child development and play. If you choose the training can lead to a formal qualification through CERTA.
We feel that it is important for volunteers not to be out of pocket whilst doing voluntary work. We will cover all travelling expenses however unfortunately we are unable to reimburse child-care costs.
Once you have started home-visiting as a volunteer you will be well supported in your role. Trained and professional co-ordinators are on hand to offer support and help with any issues. You will also be invited to attend support meetings where you will have the opportunity to meet other volunteers and discuss issues.
Our volunteers find the experience of supporting a family rewarding. Many volunteers find their confidence in their own skills is boosted and helps them on the path to further education or work.
Volunteer Preparation Course
All our volunteers complete a 9 week / 36 hour accredited volunteer preparation course before starting to visit families. Volunteers can opt to complete a portfolio of work to achieve a level 1 or 2 qualification accredited by CERTA.
If you are interested in joining us for this course and becoming a volunteer for Home-Start Bristol download our Volunteer Application Pack.