About Home-Start Leeds

Home-Start Leeds is an independent charity that began in 1987. We are affiliated to the national Home-Start UK network who provide us with training, information, support and guidance but we are responsible for our own management and securing our own funding. Our carefully recruited volunteers are all people who understand the demands of being a parent or carer and bring care and kindness to their role. 

In February 2024 Richard McCann agreed to be our local Patron.

Helping families in Leeds since 1987

Families Helped

Children Supported


Our Vision, Mission & Values

Our Vision

Every parent has the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life.

Our Mission

To support parents as they grow in confidence, strengthen their relationship with their children and widen their links with the local community.

Our Values

  • We offer families choice
  • We work in partnership – with each other, with families and with other agencies
  • We work in a spirit of openness, encouragement and enjoyment
  • We are flexible and responsive to the needs of families

We want to see a society in which every parent has the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life.

The need for our work is acute and growing. In the UK right now:

  • 6 million children live in severe poverty
  • 93,000 children live in care – an increase of 10,000 in 10 years
  • 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 16  have a mental health problem
  • 2 million children are regular witnesses to severe forms of domestic violence

We believe that the best possible start in life for a child begins at home with their family. A nurturing, loving, stable family and home environment strongly determine a child’s future life chances. Children whose parents are struggling to cope can miss out on the love, routine and support that are vital for their future.

What We Do

We offer a unique, non- judgemental, volunteer led, confidential family support services.

After careful selection and comprehensive training, our volunteers are introduced to a family and become a trusted support and mentor. They visit them and their children at the family home and help in a variety of ways such as:

  • Listening to parents and offering emotional and practical support.
  • Working with them to recognise their strengths and weaknesses to support them through challenging times.
  • Empowering parents to engage with other support networks available within their local area.
  • Encouraging them to prepare their children for early learning & the school environment.
  • We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk and expect all staff, trustees and volunteers to share this commitment.
  • We promote equality of opportunity and inclusion for all, celebrating the difference and diversity of people and valuing the positive impact that each individual brings to our organisation.
  • We expect all staff, trustees and volunteers, at all times, to uphold attitudes, values, behaviour and language that underpin child centred practice
  • We are committed to ensuring the voice & influence of children, young people parents and carers informs development and delivery of all our services.

Our Strategic Plan 2023-2026

Safeguarding and Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults

‘Safeguarding and protecting children and vulnerable adults is everybody’s business”

We believe that every child has the right to live free from abuse of any kind; and we aim to work with families and children to ensure that we will do everything in our power to keep them safe.  Our Safeguarding Policy and Procedure provides a framework and guide and applies all our Trustees, Employees and Volunteers.

What if things go wrong?

Home-Start Leeds maintains a culture of continuous improvement at all levels of the organisation and strives to provide excellent services’ However there can be times when things go wrong or those, we support become unhappy with the service they receive.

Complaints are viewed as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the individual that makes the complaint. Definition of a complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of Home-Start Leeds. If you have a complaint, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can try and put things right.

How to make a complaint Please see below the different ways you can make a complaint

  • Write to our CEO Tracey Simpson-Laing at Home-Start Leeds, F17-F23, Hope House, 65 Mabgate, Leeds. LS9 7DR or email: [email protected]
  • Write to our Chair of Trustees Karen Breakwell c/o Home-Start Leeds, F17-F23, Hope House, 65 Mabgate, Leeds. LS9 7DR.

Your complaint will be treated in confidence, acknowledged and properly looked in to. During the investigation in to your complaint your right to a service will not be affected because you have made a complaint. You will be kept informed of the progress and outcome of your complaint.

How we will handle a complaint Your complaint will be taken through a staged procedure with time scales and responsibilities for the resolution of the complaint.

Our Team


Our work at Home-Start Leeds is supported by our small dedicated staff team, who recruit and train our Volunteers to offer practical and emotional support in the homes of families who are struggling to cope for a variety of reasons.

I commenced my role at Home Start Leeds in September 2021.

I bring to Home Start Leeds over 25 years’ experience of senior leadership in the Public and Voluntary Sectors. During my career I have held senior roles at several leading organisations and have worked in the areas of Learning Disabilities, Therapeutic Counselling, Mental Health, Alzheimer’s and Debt & Housing Advice; and I spent 16 years as a Local Authority Councillor where I sat on range of regional, national and international boards and committees.

My passion in life is to support people who struggle to navigate the complexities of daily life and bureaucratic systems by giving them support in times of need, and then working with them so that they can achieve their personal goals and aims.

I have a adult daughter who lives with me; and I am a carer for my mum who was widowed in 2019.

I joined Home-Start in 2004 as a Volunteer. I completed the work experience programme and became a Coordinator in 2005.

I am a Senior Coordinator and Strategic Lead for Safeguarding and Domestic Abuse and Violence.

I work across all Home-Start Leeds projects and specialise on the New Start and Leeds Doulas projects.

I first came to Home-Start Leeds as a Volunteer in 2010. After having my daughter and spending a few years at home I decided that it was time for a career change – I went to college to resit my GCSEs and then went on to university and earned a Working with Children, Young People, and Families Degree.

I took advantage of the free learning and development that is offered to all Volunteers and earned some extra qualifications and built up my knowledge and skills for working with families; and in 2016 I accessed the Work Experience Programme to gain experience in the office.

I started in the role of Coordinator in February 2017 and since 2021 I have been a Senior Coordinator. I can honestly say it is the best job I have ever had. I feel lucky to be a part of this amazing team. I love meeting all the families and training and supporting our wonderful Volunteers.

I am a Senior Coordinator and Strategic Lead for Mental Health and Learning & Devlopment; and I work on the New Start and Parent -to-Parent projects.

I volunteered with Home-Start Leeds for approximately 4 years prior to starting my Coordinator role.

I started as a Parent-to-Parent Coordinator in September 2020. I really enjoying my role and look forward to continuing supporting families and volunteers in the future.

I look after Parent to Parent at Home-Start Leeds.

 I am the Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator and I have been in post since September 2020; and prior to this I was part of Home-Start Volunteer Team from September 2018.

In 2019 I took park in the Coordinator Work Experience Program where I observed and worked alongside the Coordinators learning about their role this was an interesting insight and I am glad I got the opportunity to take part.

I am currently studying a Child and Families Studies Degree and am now in my final year of studies. I have two young children; I love the Harry Potter series and my favourite sweets are Percy Pigs.

I am also a Coodinator and work on the Parent to Parent project

I started my Home-Start journey as a Volunteer in 2021 alongside finishing off my Psychology Degree. The position for Coordinator came up and felt I had more to offer families who are struggling.

I have always enjoyed more of a caring role as I am a parent to three children and have always taken on supportive volunteer positions in other charities.

Whilst carrying out this role, I will be doing a Masters in Mental Health in Young People and Children and feel this will work alongside the support I can give families and volunteers.

I work on the Perinatal Service.

I run the Home-Start Leeds Dad Matters project

I first came to Home-Start Leeds in the summer of 2022 on a part-time secondment from my full time job within the JLP Partnership at Waitrose – the organisaiton supports Home-Start as one of our chosen charities across the business.

I enjoyed my Secondment so much that I applied to work with Home-Strat Leeds – at the start of start of 2023 I joined as a Coordinator working 3 days aweek.  

I am a mum of 3 girls , and have a granddaughter and enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

I work as a Coordinator on the Family Ties project

I am a mum to 10 children and I have been volunteering with Home-Start Leeds since finishing the Volunteer Preperation Course in March 2016, this was after one of  my children started nursery and I had some free time – I figured I would put that to good use and began to look for somewhere that needed Volunteers. I came across Home-Start Leeds and it sounded very much like something I could contribute to, and I have enjoyed my time here since.

I work as a Family Worker on the Famly Ties project.

I started my journey at Home-Start Leeds as a family in 1990 when I became pregnant with my 4th child at a very difficult time in my life.

In 1992 I completed the Volunteer Preparation Course but decided not to support families and became a Volunteer in the Home-Start office, which led me to apply for the clerical assistant position in 1995. Since that time, I have had several different job titles within the organisation and at present I am the Volunteer Development/Admin, which entails managening our Recpetion, maintianing our database, managing our DBS Checking Service and supporting new Volunteers to gain access to our Preparation Courses and training.


Home-Start Leeds is managed by a board of Volunteer Trustees who serve on the governance board and are responsible for directing the management and administration of the charity. The Trustees have a wide range of duties and are responsible for effectively running the charity, providing overall direction and maintaining the sound management of funds.

I am a retired Chartered Quantity Surveyor and Senior Project and Programme Manager with over forty years’ experience in managing high profile multi-million-pound public and private sector projects across the NHS, Central and Local Government, the Ministry of Defence and the private sector

I have hands on experience of delivering successful transformational business change programmes through service re-design, business planning and real estate and facilities management, both at a strategic and operational level.

My interest in becoming involved with Home-Start Leeds was firstly around me wanting to put something back into the local community where my family and I were brought up and secondly to be involved in a local charity that really made a difference.

I have now been involved as a Trustee for over 4 years and this has brought me great insight into how dedicated and passionate Home-Start Leeds is. I am proud to be a Trustee of Home-Start Leeds because together we do make a difference to young families across the city.

I joined Home-Start Leeds in 2013. I had recently retired, and my sister already volunteered down in Hampshire. She told me to check the charity out, she was sure it would be something I would enjoy. 

Since completing the very intense but enjoyable Volunteer Preparation Course, becoming a Volunteer, and then being invited to join the Board of Trustees I am so proud to be part of Home-Start Leeds.  I have supported families over those years – some extremely challenging, but always privileged to feel I helped and encouraged these families. Home-Start Volunteers are a wonderful group of people who visit families in their own homes. 

Never judging but always a kind listening ear and helping with practically any sort of problem the families are facing. Being a Trustee, I now feel I can be part of a group of people that assist and advise on the actual running of the charity. I get involved with Safeguarding and I am also on the HR Committee – we certainly have brilliant hard working committed staff.

I hope to be part of Home-Start for many years to come. 

I have extensive senior management experience in the third sector, the NHS and International Development.

My most recent role prior to retiring in 2019 was as CEO at Age UK Leeds. I spent six years working for the World Health Organisation in Viet Nam, co-managing a £17 million HIV prevention project and three-years as a Voluntary Service Overseas volunteer working in a provincial hospital in Cambodia. Prior to this I was a senior manager in the NHS for nearly 20-years and my posts included managing services for Women and Children at the Leeds General Infirmary.  

The best start in life provides important foundations for good health and wellbeing throughout life. The staff and volunteers at Home-Start Leeds provide an invaluable service supporting parents to give their children the best possible start in life and I am proud to be a member of the Trust Board.

I am retired but started quite a few years ago as Volunteer Trustee whilst working for the Leeds Early Years services (as it was then known), I was asked to represent them on the Home Start Leeds board

My initial years of volunteering were very diverse and interesting, which led me, when I retired to stay on as a Volunteer. I have always admired the ethos and dedication of the organisation. During my time on the Board I have servicd as chair and enjoyed the challenge.

I find my background in working with families and young children has been really helpful.  In my spare time I am an avid traveller and also enjoy cooking!

I joined Home-Start Leeds in 2022 and I am very proud to be a Trustee for the charity. Home-Start plays an incredibly valuable role supporting Leeds families through challenging times, and it’s an honour to be able to work as part of our board to help the charity continue this work.

My background is in arts education, having worked previously as a teacher in secondary schools in Leeds. I currently work as a Relationship Manager at Arts Council England, where I manage funding relationships with a range of organisations working in the cultural education sector. I’m passionate about ensuring that children and young people have fantastic opportunities, whatever their circumstances. The best possible start in life is the beginning of this journey and its inspiring seeing the work that Home- Start Leeds’ Staff and Volunteers providing support and care to families in order to ensure this.

I joined Home-Start Leeds in 2022 after being incredibly inspired by one of the Volunteers I worked with in my day job.

I became a new mum in late 2019 and raising my baby through the pandemic lockdowns brought it home to me how incredibly important it is that parents have access to the emotional and practical support they need to be the best parents they can be, whatever the challenges. And Home-Start Leeds does amazing work.

I bring 18 years of corporate experience from the telecommunications and financial services sectors, and five years experience as a non-for-profit Board Director in the utilities sector. I’ve spent a lot of my career to date delivering business transformation programmes, with a particular passion for those with a regulatory compliance angle. I like making the complex simple so companies can get on with delivering their core mission.

We are always looking for new Volunteers to help us help and support families.

View our Current vacancies…

Here are some volunteer journeys

View all of our Volunteer Journeys…

Here are some experiences from the many families which we support

View all of our Family Experiences…