We support families with at least one child under 5 years old, we work alongside the adults to be the best parents they can be, within their particular circumstances, and achieve the best possible outcomes for their families by accessing support around the issues impacting on their lives. All of the families we support are going through a period of difficulty including their own / their child’s disability, poverty or low-income, poor mental health, isolation, domestic abuse, learning difficulties and immigration issues.
Parents work alongside volunteers & staff to identify the issues having the greatest impact on their family, develop a strategy to begin to address these issues & alleviate their impact on their family. Parents crucially have a choice to engage with us or not, which is vital to their meaningful engagement with us.
This enables the families to build resilience, increase parenting capacity & improve the outcomes of both the children and parents, and therefore become more robust & less reliant on support services.
Our daily activities include;
• Home-visits from our trained volunteer mentors for 2-3 hrs / week for up to 9-months
• One-to-one support to parents by staff
• Family Groups in 5 localities across West Lothian
“I have been a Health Visitor for the past 11 years working in the Craigshill area, having supports available to offer my families have made such a difference to my families. One such support is Home Start West Lothian; this charity has provided a volunteer to many of my families I have chosen to use this particular family as an example as they are still working with their volunteer:
Young mum (26yr) who has four children under the age of 5yrs, the main reason I referred this family for a volunteer was the mum was disorganised, missing health appointments and was struggling to access social activities. The mum was keen to accept support as she realised herself that she was struggling
Within a few weeks a volunteer was matched, a visit was arranged along with the Home Start coordinator dates times and the aims of the service was agreed and a contract was agreed and signed
Since this mum has had her volunteer there has been a huge difference in the children attending their health appointments, the volunteer provided a calendar and a white board which she would write up each week with the mum appointment times etc. were written clearly on the board.
The mum was also encouraged to attend parenting groups that Home Start run in the local area again this has made a difference to the mum’s emotional wellbeing as she is meeting other mum’s the children are enjoying the crèche and mixing with their peers.
Within the family home the volunteer has passed on her own experiences of being a “mum” and encouraged the mum to buy toy boxes for each child, at the end of the day each child is encouraged to tidy up the toys and is rewarded with a story, this has made such a difference to the presentation of the house as toys were previously strewn everywhere.
On discussion with the mum about how she personally felt about the volunteer she described her as being her “good friend” someone who has given her back her confidence back, she says she is very reliable turning up when agreed not being judgemental about her parenting and the children love her calling her “aunty ****”.
I do believe if this mum had not had a volunteer I would have had to refer to Social Work due to the missed appointments and the chaotic lifestyle the children were living in.”
Monday - Thursday
09:00 am - 17:00 pm
09:00 am - 16:00 pm
01506 650 111