In this special guest blog, Victoria Anderson-Adair, Communications and Engagement Manager at Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow, explains the challenges families in Barnet are facing, and how you can help.
During the past 18 months, every person on the planet will have needed support in one way or another. Emotional, practical, physical, psychological, financial, medical, or spiritual: we will all have reached out to one another to both receive and offer support in some way.
For many Home-Start families, their support networks were diminished and their access to support restricted. Mothers gave birth to babies without the presence of their partners; perinatal services were reduced as resources were channeled to Covid-19 aid; single parent families became isolated; and the strain on food banks and secondhand donations of clothes and goods increased to such an extent that providers were unable to cope with demand at times.
Guljabeen Rahman, CEO of Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow said, “In all of this, our volunteers continued to be a vital support to our families during restrictions, moving their in-person meetings to regular Zoom calls, messages, and delivering care packages when needed. However, as we move back to home-visiting, we know that our families’ need for support will have only grown, as the mental and physical toll of the pandemic becomes apparent.
Our need for volunteers has risen significantly in the last two months. We are keen to hear from people who have some experience with children and want to make a real difference to the lives of families in Barnet.”
A recent Home-Start UK report reveals that twice as many low-income families (under £16,000 p.a.) are not optimistic about life after lockdown compared with those earning more (over £30,000 p.a.). The erosion of these families’ support networks, provisions, and services over the past year and a half has also eroded their confidence and resilience. Their mental health is at an all-time low.
To ensure we are there when families need us most, Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow is raising funds for our counselling service, which works with families to give them a safe space to explore their feelings, whilst offering tools to help them rebuild their confidence and face this new future feeling stronger and more empowered.
By doing this, we aim to support parents to give their children the healthiest and happiest start in life possible. There is clear evidence that the first 1001 days of a child’s life are of vital importance to their health, wellbeing, development and learning. By working with their parents to give them the support they need to be the best parents they can be, we are increasing the chances of them creating the foundations their children need to thrive. And when families thrive, so do communities, and that’s when opportunities open up, services are sustained, businesses flourish, and everyone takes pride in the place they live.
This value of this work cannot be overstated, and the immediacy with which we need to act is vital. There are three ways you can help us to support local families:
- Run or walk for us in the London Interfaith Fun Run: sign up here
- Donate to the campaign: donate here
- Volunteer with Home-Start Barnet: find out more here
Because childhood can’t wait.
At the heart of Home-Start's work is home visiting volunteer support. Families struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement, and many other issues receive the support of a volunteer who will spend around two hours a week in a family’s home supporting them in the ways they need.