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Home Start West and South West: Family Support Volunteer (Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West)

Room S3, 525 Ferry Road
Heather Oakden

Our vision is for a community in which every parent has the support they need to give children the best possible start in life, but many find it difficult for a variety of reasons. We work with individuals and groups, providing non-judgemental, practical and emotional support to help build a family’s confidence and ability to cope.

In delivering our service we offer opportunities for committed, caring and enthusiastic volunteers to increase their skills with training, gain new experiences and make new friends.

Volunteers are provided with initial training through our ‘Preparation Course’ which increases the individuals' knowledge of Home Start as an organisation, including their specific policies and procedures. Policies and procedures are linked to government policy and guidance and so provide a sound basis for anyone with an interest in working with children and families e.g. Child Protection, Confidentiality/GDPR. Depending on a volunteer’s experience, interest and aspirations, they will then go on to work with a family and / or to support groups.

Home Start home visiting volunteers - volunteers are carefully matched with families whom they visit, usually on a weekly basis, for approximately two hours each week. This focused support provides invaluable experience in:

  • Building rapport
  • Developing listening skills and empathy to understand a family’s needs
  • Using problem solving skills and working with the wider team to find ways of meeting those needs
  • Working with the family to generate ideas about activities that will meet their needs
  • Developing those ideas and activities so that the family experience quality interaction, play and learning time together

Family group volunteers - volunteers will help at weekly groups such as Peep which helps parents to increase their confidence while having fun, and learning, with their children. Helping at groups offers a range of experiences that can be extended / built on as a volunteer’s confidence grows. These include:

  • Welcoming new families with their young children
  • Helping with setting up a room and taking registers
  • Getting involved in friendly and positive discussion
  • Learning about ways of engaging young children through listening, talking, singing and playing
  • Seeing how different resources can be used to engage young children and get involved in the care and maintenance of those resources
  • Learning about how structured programmes can be used to support families in group situations

Once involved with Home Start, volunteers can expect to be offered additional training in subjects that are relevant to family support, such as Maternal Mental Health, Baby and Child First Aid, Bookbug, for example.

Service Type

Employability, Health / Mental Health, Education and training, and Volunteering

Target Area

South west and All Edinburgh

Age group served

20-24, 25-29, 30-50, and 50+

Pipeline Stage

Stage 1 / Engagement and Stage 3 / Vocational Activity

Outreach offered


We look for volunteers that have experience of bringing up children or in working with families and small children. Friendliness and a caring attitude are essential as well as an understanding of the pressures of parenting.

We ask that, after the initial preparation training, volunteers commit to at least one year of supporting families and / or groups.

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