The Lord Mayor and Sheriff have chosen Home-Start Norfolk as their civic charity appeal for this year.
Home-Start Norfolk is a local independent charity supporting the health and wellbeing of families with young children in Norwich and across Norfolk. The charity has provided vital support to Norwich families since 2004 when Home-Start Norwich was set up thanks to the passion and commitment of long-standing patron TV presenter Trisha Goddard.
Home-Start Norfolk’s vision is to give children the best start in life, by working with parents to address emerging issues at the earliest opportunity that will have the greatest impact on early years development and avoid difficulties becoming more entrenched and expensive to address later in life. There is overwhelming evidence showing that the first 1001 days of a child’s life (from conception to age 2) are the most impactful in determining good emotional wellbeing, confidence, educational attainment and improving lifelong outcomes.
Home-Start Norfolk’s ethos is to empower and enable, allowing families to develop self-resilience and confidence in their ability to cope with challenging situations, improving poor mental health, reducing isolation and social exclusion, and encouraging greater integration within their local community.
Recent statistics reveal that Norwich has 34 per cent, or 9,497 children living in poverty (End Child Poverty Coalition, 2020), the highest level in the whole of Norfolk. Combined with this, and the impact of the Covid pandemic exacerbating challenges for the most vulnerable families, demand for family support in Norwich is growing.
Home-Start Norfolk’s family support model
Families seeking Home-Start Norfolk’s support ask for help with a range of challenges – including poor mental health and wellbeing, physical health problems, a disability or additional needs, family breakdown, bereavement, or financial difficulties.
Families are matched with a trained volunteer to provide up to six months of weekly home-visiting support interventions to a family (or remote support during Covid lockdowns) addressing challenging issues and tackling barriers that are preventing parents and their young children from thriving. Support is tailored to each family’s specific needs which may include – a listening ear to help with post-natal depression, accompanying to medical appointments, help with managing household bills and budgets, healthy eating advice, preparing children for nursery or school, signposting to other complementary services. Many families are affected by a number of complex issues, becoming completely overwhelmed.
Mum, dad and three children aged 4, 9 and 11 were referred by their children’s school. All three children had complex additional and behavioural needs and both parents were struggling with their mental health. The Covid lockdown placed extra strain on the family and their finances.
A volunteer experienced in working with additional needs children was matched to provide regular support. As well as providing vital emotional support and helping with routines and boundaries, the volunteer helped draft letters to secure Disability Living Allowance, applied for short break respite care for the children, and assisted with applications for housing repairs and improvements.
Home-Start Norfolk was also able to secure a laptop to support home schooling, food parcels when the family needed them, clothing and Christmas presents for the children. The family were referred to Norwich Early Help Hub for further support.
For cases studies, referral information and any other details about the charity, visit the Home-Start Norfolk website.
How to donate
You can donate to Home-Start Norfolk, the Norwich Civic Charity for 2021-22 by mobile phone:
- To DONATE £3, text CIVICCHARITY 3 TO 70085
- To DONATE £5, text CIVICCHARITY 5 TO 70085
- To DONATE £10, text CIVICCHARITY 10 TO 70085
Donations can be made between £1 and £20 by changing the number at the end of the text message.
Texts cost the donation value plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text CIVICCHARITYNOINFO to 70085.
Alternatively, donations can be made via the Total Giving fundraising webpage.