Home-Start’s first volunteer shares her proudest moments over 20 years with the charity

Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur has local volunteers at the core of support for families and winning the Sussex Life Award for Services to the Community in October 2018 makes them a top volunteering charity in the county. Mrs Daphne Beard was the first registered volunteer in 1999 when the scheme started in Arun. Here she shares her experience and lifelong love of Home-Start's valuable work to celebrate national Volunteers’ Week 2019.

Mrs Beard has been supporting local families for 20 years in different capacities from hands on with families to a trustee, ambassador and now making items to fundraise. When Daphne started with Home-Start she completed the training and met other like-minded local people. She says, "It was very welcoming, we had knowledgeable staff training us and outside speakers. It was very professional, and I loved it!"

Daphne felt prepared to support a family in their own home and wished to use her own career experience of family work insight. Daphne was looking forward to meeting her first Home-Start family, and she didn’t have to wait long. She was matched with a local mum and baby. Daphne remembers, "Being matched with my first family was my proudest moment. I felt like I had a place in their family to help mum as she attended physiotherapy and look after her baby. Mum was reluctant to go to her appointments because it meant leaving her baby. She asked me where I was going to take him, I always looked after him as that’s what I was there to do. Mum’s bone condition would have deteriorated had she not made those appointments."

Another memorable moment for Daphne was with her second family. She recalls, "The best thing was, when I pulled up outside the house, the toddler would come running out with her arms wide open saying 'It’s my Daphne'! What else can you ask for?"

Once her home-visiting volunteering days were over, Daphne liked to raise the profile of the charity and raise funds. Daphne is keen that all families should know about the service, should they need it. She’d raise £800 each year through coffee mornings, baking and making cards. She now knits children’s hats and mitten sets with a friend for fundraising and they enjoy the challenge. She says, "We didn’t have all the fundraising events like they do now. We just had a table in a church hall, that’s where a lot of our money came from."

Daphne found that being part of the Home-Start team used her skills, experience and she felt valued as staff always said thank you and supported her. She has a word for potential new volunteers, "I would tell them they need to talk to someone who is already volunteering, so that they get a genuine feel for it. It’s important to know what you are getting into. A great load is taken off the shoulders (of families) with help from Home-Start volunteers. I loved it."

If you are interested to give your time to support local families, you can contact Home-Start on 01903 889707 or email admin@home-startawa.org.uk with your interests. We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with family support, fundraising and research. You will be trained and supervised and have a lot of fun! Please get in touch and join the award winning team!