Volunteer Journey – Lindsey C

I started volunteering with Home-Start Leeds in October 2016. I wanted to volunteer to `give something back` having received support from other agencies on my own early parenting journey. From the very beginning Home-Start felt like a family, everyone was extremely supportive and kind.

I chose to volunteer with kinship families as I’m an adoptive parent so felt my parenting skills and support would be best utilised here as I understood how hard it can be helping children who have suffered trauma. 

I’ve supported 2 families now, both in different circumstances. The first family needed support in meetings for housing and education for the child, alongside emotional support for the carer. Being able to see the confidence grow in the carer after 12 months support meant I had done my job, and I could move on reassured that that carer could continue their journey feeling assertive and sure in their role. 

I’ve being supporting my current kinship family since April 2020. This meant that support began during the first lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic. This was a very different way of supporting a family, by telephone only. It felt quite strange trying to build a relationship with a family without seeing them face to face, and I’m sure the kinship parent found that difficult too. Six months on and I’m still supporting the same family.

Perseverance has paid off and although support is still by telephone I feel I have gained the trust of the carer and our conversations are much easier now. It’s mostly emotional support to allow the carer space to vent or question family life and experiences. That’s important for the carer with the aim of allowing them to offload and de-stress so they can continue parenting stress-free as much as possible. I’m a good listener and can signpost to other support if needed.

We’ve been able to support this family with white goods, doorstep food drops, and ‘winter warmer’ clothes. I’m hoping to meet my kinship family soon on a doorstep visit, I can’t wait, it will be good to put a voice to a face and meet the family!

Parenting is hard, you need to be brave and courageous to ask for help. If I can make a difference to the families I support, and empower parents to be the best parents they can be and transfer love and kindness to their children for their early development, then I’m proud to have succeeded in my position as a Home-Start volunteer. 

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