A Huddersfield-based charity set up in 1999 to provide families with confidential long-term support through a network of expert trained volunteers has helped more families than ever in the last year.

Home-Start Kirklees helped 230 families in 2021-22 compared to 202 in the previous year. The local charity gives compassionate bespoke help to families on a wide range of issues including bereavement, post-natal depression, isolation, coping with multiple births, domestic abuse, loneliness, financial worries or helping out with a parent or child with disabilities.

Kerri Flanagan, director of Home-Start Kirklees, said: “Parenting during the pandemic has been particularly tough and now with the added worry about the cost-of-living crisis, it is a really challenging time for families.

“Being a parent has never been easy. It can be lonely, frustrating and overwhelming. Life-changing events can happen to anyone. Home-Start Kirklees stands alongside families when they need us the most with compassionate, non-judgmental support.

“We are needed now more than ever, but to help us to continue to support families when they reach out, we need more kind-hearted volunteers to join us to help local families.”

Sarah’s story
Sarah was referred to Home-Start Kirklees through her midwife at a particularly difficult time of her life. Sarah’s father had recently passed away – just 12 days before her wedding – and she was now mum to a two-and-a-half year old and new-born twins.

Struggling with feelings of isolation and depression, a Home-Start volunteer provided a much needed an extra pair of hands, and at times a listening ear and shoulder to cry on.

Following weekly support, Sarah is now feeling more able to cope and has returned to work feeling like she is on track to become the parent she always wanted to be.

Sarah said: “I met my volunteer just before Christmas and what a difference she has made to our lives and my sanity!

“Having support from Home-Start allowed me to get out of the house and interact with the outside world and provided the reassurance that what I was feeling was just normal. My volunteer would encourage me to take small steps and see that things were achievable even though my hands were very full.

“I will be forever grateful for the support offered by this wonderful organisation. I’m certain things have been easier thanks to her support and friendship.”

For more information about volunteering or for support contact Home-Start Kirklees via email on info@homestart-kirklees.org.uk or call them on 01484 421925.