Local charity Home-Start Arun, Worthing & Adur celebrate 18 years’ service with 7,495 local children supported

There was a lively gathering of over 50 guests including; volunteers, past and present, staff, trustees and supporters of Home-Start to celebrate the 18th birthday milestone at the Manor House, Littlehampton. There were reunions, cakes cut, guest speakers, and small gifts for the volunteers last Wednesday, 7th March.

Volunteers for Home-Start Arun, Worthing & Adur have between them supported 7,495 local children to receive a better start in life. Volunteers were thanked for their commitment and experience which is shared with local parents of young children to support the family through challenging times.

Trustee Vince Mewett, Home-Start Arun, Worthing & Adur in conversation with Rob Parkinson, Chief Executive Home-Start UK at the 18th Birthday celebration

Motivational guest speaker, Rachel Maunder spoke to the volunteers and staff about acknowledging that everything they do for the family, big or small is a huge help and support. Rachel said,

“You probably don’t realise the positive impact that you have on families. It maybe tough when they don’t seem to engage but the positive outcomes will come with your support; continue to value your input as it counts”

Chief Executive of Home-Start UK, Rob Parkinson drove down to West Sussex from Leicester and spoke at the event. He was thrilled to present the volunteers with certificates of appreciation and bespoke wooden keyrings as a keepsake from the 18 years celebrations. Mr Parkinson spoke about the wonderful international network that local Home-Start is part of and the value that volunteers bring to the local community. Rob said,

“Firstly, let me wish you a very happy 18th birthday! It is such an achievement for your small charity to make this milestone with fragile funding and greater demand for your family support service. Home-Start brings over £70,000 of volunteer resource in this area and they are local people willingly contributing and sharing their experience with the structure of Home-Start around them. Thank you for all you do as a team of volunteer, staff and trustees.”

Vince in the Home-Start Office

Home-Start has supported on average, 139 families each year since the year 2000. Chair of Trustees Pete Crowe said, “All parents with young children face challenging times and a whole range of parents benefit from the home-visiting service and family groups. The charity continues to raise all its’ own funds and we require £110,000 this year to support another 150 families in need. We especially hope to expand our work with local dads and increase the service available across Worthing and Adur”.

If you would like to support the charity, you can donate, hold an event or volunteer and join the energetic team. Call the office on 01903 889707 or go online www.home-startarun.org.uk to find out more.

What do you mean? Be on the Board for nothing?

I have been a Human Resources Executive for over 30 years for a large company in West Sussex. I was looking forward to and planning my retirement; some more time with my family, flexibility and new experiences. I have bags of energy but never did I think I’d be joining a charity and contributing in so many ways.

My interest has always been in people and making work and home life better for them – hence I was in HR for so long. The way we treat our staff is vital to the business being successful and the same is true with volunteers. If people feel valued, they do their best in my experience.

Vince as Father Christmas with staff member Charlotte, Chief Elf

I hadn’t considered volunteering as part of my retirement, thinking it may be too restricting. It was the advert in the paper for Trustees with HR skills that grabbed me, and a registered charity supporting local people. I was happy to learn more about what I was required to commit to, and the time needed and then follow the recruitment process. In the summer of 2017 I was appointed to Home-Start’s Board, along with other new Trustees. We went through the induction together which was helpful. The aims of the Charity resonated strongly with me, it’s a small charity that makes a difference locally.

This year is our 18th year and there have been special events to attend, learn more about Home-Start across the UK and in Arun, Worthing & Adur, the challenges of funding for the charity sector and meet staff and other committed volunteers. I’ve met the Chief Executive of Home-Start UK and quizzed him on all things West Sussex! I’ve attended high quality training. I’ve met other like-minded people on the Board and the volunteers who support the families who need our help. All families can have a tough time, no-one has a smooth path is what saw in my HR roles.

I’m able to put to good use my HR skills by working with the Manager and reviewing staff processes. But also, they surprised me by asking me to be Father Christmas at the Christmas Party for Families and I was a little nervous at first, but with the costume on and support from the team I enjoyed myself – and so did the children thankfully!

I am pleased to have joined a thriving local charity and the opportunities go way beyond what I thought I could contribute. Next on my list is to support the fundraising abseil at Arundel Castle on 30th September – but they’re not sending me down on a rope. I’ll be on the ground wishing the participants a well-deserved congratulations!