I have been volunteering for HomeStart Leeds for almost 5 years. As an adoptive parent I’d found parenting difficult and wanted to give something back to the community after receiving support myself, and felt inspired to help others on their parenting journey. I was also just embarking on a degree and wanted to support my learning with practical learning too.
Right from the start HomeStart Leeds felt like family. Nothing was too much trouble and I felt valued in my role as a volunteer from the early beginning of ringing the office to enquire about volunteering to a first meet up, the “prep course”, to being matched with my first family. The support from the dedicated and knowledgeable coordinators was immense and I appreciated their guidance and supervision.
I’ve had a couple of breaks from volunteering due to personal family issues and these were supported sensitively by coordinators who understood and gently guided me back to volunteering once I was ready to return. During my five years I’ve supported just 2 families which is unusual, yet these were families that required long-term support, and I’m proud to have been part of their journey. It has been wonderful to see the families I have supported become confident in their parenting skills and provide their children with the best start they could have.
I have completed my degree and now feel it is time to hang up my volunteering hat as I move onto paid employment, however I feel that I have achieved so much through my volunteering and gained skills to add to my knowledge that could not have been achieved anywhere else. I’ve also seen my own confidence and self-esteem grow, and self-belief.
Thank you HomeStart Leeds, you are like a little piece of magic, creating resilience in families and volunteers alike, its been a wonderful journey.