Home-Start has quite simply been my life line since having the twins. It is a family support charity that is exceptionally close to my heart and one I feel is very important to write about and publicise especially as I have noticed on twitter myself a few more new mummies with twins who have no idea this support exists. However it is not just for multiple mums, that is only one strand of the support it offers.
Home-Start is the UK’s leading family support charity. Set up in 1973, there are now 334 local Home-Starts spread right across the UK, supporting almost 35,000 families and nearly 73,000 children. Over 16,000 trained parent volunteers support other parents in their own homes. Offering emotional and practical support, that is both confidential and non-judgmental, to families who are struggling to cope, whatever the reason. From post natal depression and multiple births, through to lone parenting, domestic abuse and poverty. What Home-Start does is make fragile families strong again.
We all don’t like that term ‘struggling to cope’ do we? It might imply we are failing or doing not as we should be. When I found out I was expecting twins, like anyone would be I was daunted. On top of that my son was only six months old! When the twins were born we were elated, but I remember coming home from hospital with two new born twins and greeting my now 15 month old son who promptly threw up everywhere because he had a sickness bug! I seriously fretted over the prospect of postnatal depression and thought I would never get to grips with managing three so young.
My family have been an incredible support, but they work and are not available day to day. My teaching career had to be put on hold as three in childcare was more than my salary and I was slightly grieving over the lack of control I had. I feared things would spin out of control. I coped better than I gave myself credit for but I also I had the most amazing health visitor and she immediately referred me to Home- Start, got me introduced to the twins club in our area, and even got me on the list for a student from the local institute who was training to be a Nursery Nurse.
Home-Start came to my house to assess my needs and immediately felt that I would benefit from support. I fell under the categories of three under two and multiples. I was really struggling to keep on top of the house as well as mind three, who constantly needed feeding and or changing.
I got introduced to my volunteer and she started coming one morning a week.
Initially I used her to get out the house. I had a triple pushchair, but the twins could not go in it until three months old and so it was impossible to push a double and a single on your own. I felt caged. She ensured I got fresh air at least once in five days. Then is moved onto playing and engaging with the children, while I could get things like the bleach out and do my bathroom and kitchen floor, or my massive pile or ironing. When you have crawlers, an ironing board is not a safe option.
It also gave me company. Someone to talk to. Someone to ask his or her opinions. Another adult. My volunteer is an inspiration to me and I have been very lucky.
A year on and I still have the support. Every review, I panic they will take it away. However I know that volunteers are thin on the ground and that if someone more in need than me required it I would happily move aside.
It provided the most wonderful Christmas party and a summer outing and goes out of it’s way to be there for you as a family.
It is a charity that I feel is not known about enough and undervalued. I
To find out more about Home-start, how to volunteer for your local Home-Start, or to receive help, please log on to their national website.
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Please support this wonderful charity!