The preparation course is informal and friendly but it is compulsory and there is a high attendance requirement. If you miss one session that can be covered but it’s more difficult after that. The course is led by two coordinators and you will get to know other Volunteers on the course.
The course will cover Home-Start policies and procedures around home visiting, safeguarding, child development, domestic abuse etc.
There will be lots of opportunities for questions and discussions around the family experiences which are used. It does not include written work and there is no end test or pass mark.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an age limit to be a Home-Start Volunteer?
You must be 18+ but there is no upper age limit.
Will I need references?
You will be asked for the names of two people to provide personal references. If this is difficult for you, come and discuss the issue with us
Will I need a DBS police check?
Yes. Everyone in the Home-Start team has to complete the Barring and Disclosure Service (DBS) process. Schedule one offenders will not be approved. Any other issues will be considered individually so come and discuss with us, in confidence, if this applies to you.
Do I have to pass the course?
There are no tests and very little written work as the course uses discussions on family experiences and personal experiences to cover the topics.
What if I decide volunteering isn’t for me?
The process for recruiting volunteers gives you time to decide if you feel you will enjoy and have the commitment needed for home visiting. This applies also during the preparation course when any doubts can be discussed with the coordinator and if these persist you can leave the course at any point.
Will the preparation course run over the school holidays, as I will need to make child care arrangements?
No. School holidays, including half term, are all avoided in the prep course.
How many families will I visit?
Usually you visit one family, and occasionally two, depending on how much time you can commit to.
Who decides which families to visit?
A coordinator will “match” you to a family according to the needs of that family. You will be told about the family and have the opportunity to discuss whether you think it will be right for you.
What if there are problems with the Family I am matched to?
The matching process is done very carefully and so usually there are very few problems but any concerns can be raised with your coordinator at any time, and your coordinator can provide extra support. Your coordinator will also contact you regularly to ensure that the visits are going well and to offer suggestions and extra help if needed.
Will expenses be paid?
Travel expenses (bus or car mileage) will be paid within the Leeds boundary for costs incurred in home visiting.
Can you provide timesheets for placements within university/college courses?
We can confirm that you are volunteering for Home-Start Leeds. However, we do not sign timesheets or provide placement opportunities.
Are there any other volunteering opportunities?
Yes. There may be an opportunity to become a trustee or to help with admin roles and the organisation of events.