For Volunteers Week 2016, iMultiply will be promoting a different charity each day to spread awareness of the great work and the positive impact the charity has made on lives and the wider community they work within. Our fifth charity in the series is Home Link Family Support.
Home Link Family Support are an award-winning charitable organisation supporting families with young children in Edinburgh and Midlothian. They offer services centred around an assessment-based model of support, working with families in their own homes to ensure the best start in life for children. All the families they work with have different circumstances but most of them are feeling lonely and isolated. Home Link Family Support by offering a lending ear to really listen to people and help them get them involved in fun activities to connect with their local community.
How did it all start?
In 1986, a steering group was formed comprising of interested professionals looking to provide volunteer befrienders / home visitors for isolated young families under stress in South Edinburgh. Since then they have expanded across Edinburgh and into Midlothian.
These days, their main support services are the Family Support Services, Antenatal Service and Midlothian Young Parents Support Service. Relying on maintaining an active volunteer network of 60-70 volunteers at any time.
Their Antenatal Support Service offers support to families who are expecting a baby and are in need. Sometimes these parents may struggle to establish positive attachment with their baby and may find it difficult to provide a safe and nurturing environment. Their volunteers work with the parents and other significant people in their lives.
Midlothian Young Parents Support Service
Their Young Parent Support Service supports parents under 25 years old with children aged three or under. The support can start pre-birth and carry on through the child’s early years, providing the parents with one-to-one support. It offers:
- increased knowledge of parenting
- child development
- encouragement to engage with services within their communities
This project focuses on families from the four priority areas: Woodburn, Gorebridge, Mayfield and Easthouses. We also work with families throughout Midlothian
The Family Support Service
South Edinburgh & Midlothian Volunteer Befrienders are carefully matched with a suitable family to offer emotional and practical support in the family's own home. They then visit the family every week for two hours for a year.
What do you look for in a volunteer?
Home Link Family Support look for volunteers that:
- Can spare two-three hours a week
- Are reliable
- Are caring and non-judgmental
- Are good listeners
- Are able to maintain confidentiality
- Have some understanding of the ups and downs of family life
- Are over 18
They have such a wide variety of volunteer opportunities that you could get involved in anything from spending time with the children to giving the parents a break or to providing a listening ear during tough times.
Why should someone volunteer for you?
Home Link Family Support fully train their volunteers to provide practical and emotional support for families with young children. All of their volunteers get full expenses, a thorough training course and regular supportive meetings with a Coordinator.
"I am glad I met you at that volunteer fair - it changed my life! I felt really well taken care of as a volunteer and it helped me to get a new job." Home link Family Support Volunteer
So if you would like to get involved with Home Link Family Support, they are currently looking for family volunteers and their next training course starts in August.
Check their website for details