Funding boost of £500,000 for family support charity Homestart Norfolk

Emily, Wilfred and Rosalie have received support from Home-Start Norfolk. Picture: Home-Start Norfol

Emily, Wilfred and Rosalie have received support from Home-Start Norfolk. Picture: Home-Start Norfolk - Credit: Archant

Almost 500 families will get support for children struggling in early years after a funding boost of almost half a million pounds was secured by family support charity, Home-Start Norfolk.

Right from the Start is a three year project which will enable 482 families with young children to improve their mental health, reduce isolation and increase their engagement in their children's learning and development.

Five Home-Starts in Norfolk merged into one charity in April 2017 following significant funding cuts from Norfolk County Council.

The charity changed the lives of 1164 children last year by offering vital support to families with young children affected by issues such as post-natal depression, isolation, illness or disability. With the help of its 153 volunteers, the charity provides a lifeline to parents across the county with multiple and complex needs.

Helen Brown, Home-Start Norfolk's funding manager, said 'We are delighted that the Big Lottery has agreed to support our work once again.

'There is so much research proving the long-term benefits of supporting children in the early years to get the best possible start in life.'

Helen Chester, Home-Start Norfolk's chief executive, said: 'As an organisation entirely reliant upon charitable donations, securing this funding means we can continue to support vulnerable children right from the start.

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'Our trained volunteers offer invaluable support to families across Norfolk that other services are unable to provide'.

Home-Start Norfolk offers support, friendship and practical help to parents with young children across Norfolk. It's a unique service, recruiting and training volunteers - who are usually parents themselves - to visit families at home who have at least one child under 5 to offer informal, friendly and confidential support.

Home-Start Norfolk is looking for new volunteers, who are usually parents themselves, to join our upcoming volunteer preparation courses starting in 2018.

For further details of volunteer training course in your area, or to enquire about family support, please contact Home-Start Norfolk on: 01603 977040, or visit

Case study

Emily and Tom were referred to Home-Start Norfolk by their health visitor. Three month old baby Wilfred was suffering with serious reflux, causing him a lot of pain and sickness. He needed to be kept upright at all times, and so his parents had to take shifts sleeping in the chair every night to support him in an upright position.

Dad, Tom, worked in London and Mum, Emily, was struggling alone to manage Wilfred and two year old daughter, Rosalie. Unable to take Wilfred out in the car for fear of choking, Emily became very isolated. Even a simple walk with the two children became difficult to manage alone as the family lived on a steep hill.

The family were matched with Home-Start volunteer, Sue, who visited each Wednesday to offer support. Emily said: 'We received help from Home-Start during the most difficult periods of our lives to date. Sue has been amazing, someone to talk to about our struggles with no judgement. I now feel more confident to ask for help and look after my children by myself. Sue's visits were the highlight of our week.'