Volunteers - making a difference for families in East Lothian

Volunteering for Home-Start

Home-Start volunteers can support local families in a number of ways, using their unique skills and experiences to help them cope. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and help out in hundreds of different ways.
Home-Start Volunteers and TrusteesVolunteers and Trustees at Home-Start
Many of our volunteers have been Home-Start supported families themselves. This gives them a real insight into the journey a family will go on with their volunteer. They understand the unique relationship that develops and the bond that grows between them.
Parents we have supported often go on to become Home-Start volunteers because they say they ‘want to give something back’ to the charity that helped them so much.
Home-Start East Lothian

A quick guide to becoming a volunteer
  • Volunteers are normally parents or have experience of parenting or working with children.
  • As a Home-Start volunteer you will support a family by visiting them at home for up to three hours, once a week.
  • You should be able to commit at least six months of your time to Home-Start.
  • You should have a non-judgemental attitude and understand about the pressures of bringing up a family.
  • You will have to attend our free Volunteer Preparation Course with other new volunteers before meeting your first family.
  • Expenses are paid during training and while you support a family, and help with childcare costs may also be available.
  • You must understand that your support for families is completely confidential. You will also need to be registered with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups register (PVG) but Home-Start East Lothian will help you do this.
  • You will be fully supported by the Coordinators during the time you are visiting families.
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Your Questions Answered:

What kind of families would I be helping?
All kinds of families can find it hard to cope for all sorts of reasons, maybe because of the illness or disability of child, post-natal illness, bereavement or loneliness. At Home-Start we support any parent with at least one child under the age of 5 who asks us for help. Our supported families, like our volunteers, come from all walks of life.
As a volunteer what would I actually do and can I really make a difference?
Usually you visit a family in their own home once a week for up to three hours a week. How you help is really down to the family - some might need to just chat, others may need more practical support with meal planning and cooking, reading to the children, going to the local park or sign posting to other services. Parents have a key role in creating a secure childhood for their children; it is just sometimes they need a bit of help… your help.
Do volunteers need any qualifications and what training would I get?
The only real ‘qualification’ is an understanding of the difficulties in bringing up children. Friendliness and caring attitude are essential as well as an understanding of the pressures of parenting.
We offer a complete support package from the moment of application including pre visiting training, to help you find out more about Home-Start and what to expect in the role of a befriender along with support and supervision throughout the contact with the family. All out of pocket expenses both during the preparation course and whilst volunteering will be met by Home-Start.
What will I get out of Home-Start?
Knowing you have helped; a boost to your self-esteem and confidence; experience that may even help with future employment.

Further Information

If you want to know more about becoming a Home-Start volunteer, you can view our Guide to Volunteering for Home-Start and our FAQ Page


Home-Start Volunteers and Trustees
Volunteers can support families in many ways