Volunteering: changing lives

older volunteer with MumWhy Home-Start?

"I was feeling like I had no direction in my life except my role as a mother.  There was nothing in my life that was just about me.  I joined Home-Start to help others, but I actually helped myself more than I could have realised at that time".

A Mum and Volunteer

There is no rulebook for raising a family and sometimes, it can seem overwhelming, particularly if you're going through difficult times.  At Home-Start, we believe that parents play a key role in creating a secure childhood for their children.  It's just that sometimes they need a bit of help.......YOUR HELP! 

To be a Home-Start volunteer, you don’t need to have any formal qualifications, but parenting experience is essential. Friendliness, a caring and non-judgmental attitude and good listening skills are also essential. We have both male and female volunteers – families of all shapes and sizes need our help and support! Our volunteers receive full preparation and training along with a criminal records check, as required by the law, before we match individuals with a family. 

Karen started volunteering with Home-Start Caithness one year ago. “The best thing about it, is realising how a little of my spare time has made such a positive difference to families in the area. I feel so privileged to support families and to be welcomed into their homes and entrusted with so much. The support all volunteers get from the scheme staff is really good, so we never feel overwhelmed. I couldn’t recommend it enough!” 

What's involved?

Our volunteers are carefully matched with a family – we try to ensure that they share similar interests or that the volunteer will have understanding of what the family is going through. For example the volunteer may have suffered in the past from post-natal depression, so matching them with a mum who is going through it can be a very healing process for the mum, even if the issue is never discussed – it is the knowledge that the volunteer knows what it is like. 

“I get support and reassurance - someone to talk to. We get on really well and have a good friendship; I feel comfortable with her. She takes the kids out and we go to the park and frees up a bit of my time. She helps with GP appointments and shopping because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t go out.”

A Mum, Caithness.  

Volunteers visit their family for a couple of hours each week. Help can range from just being there for a ‘grown up’ chat to playing with the children for a while; or from helping a new mum find her way around Caithness to freeing a parent up to go to a medical appointment without distractions. It’s about friendship – one parent helping another. With our volunteers help, parents can gain the confidence to manage on their own and give their children the best possible start in life.

Happy family

Case Studies

Volunteering with Home-Start is for everyone with parenting experience, either gained through raising your own children or through fostering or adoption.  As there is no 'typical' Home-Start family, there is also no 'typical' Home-Start volunteer!  We are looking for male and female, young and old, all nationalities, all experiences - the list is endless.  The following true case studies give examples of some of the people who have volunteered with Home-Start and their reasons for doing so. 


VolunteersVolunteering Gives a Second Chance of learning....

This story is about a 45 year old woman who comes from a family of 10. She left school at 16 without any qualifications and had a series of factory jobs before getting married and having her two children now aged 18 and 15. Read more....


Changing Direction through volunteering....

This story features a young mum who, following the birth of her child, wanted a change of direction from her previous job.  She lacked confidence after having taken time off to spend with her young baby and also wanted to put her parenting experience to good use in helping others. Read more....


I'm qualified now thanks to Home-Start....

This story shows how a chance placement with Home-Start changed the course of someone's life for the better. Read more....


Volunteering - everyone can contribute!

This inspirational story demonstrates the valuable role that everyone can play in volunteering with Home-Start - no matter what barriers are in our way.  Read more....




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Office 4, Stevenson House
10 Harbour Terrace

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