What does a volunteer do and how can I become one?

Email now for a volunteer application form

Our volunteers are a diverse team with a variety of skills and abundance of life experience. Here at Home-Start we are committed to developing and utilising each volunteer’s skills, and in doing so we have achieved the Investing in Volunteers Kite Mark. We have a variety of opportunities, such as home-visiting parents, mentoring young people, delivering groups and promoting healthy eating. We also look at recruiting volunteers keen to support us with marketing and promoting our services. Here is a list of our current opportunities:

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A. Family support home-visiting volunteers

Home-visiting volunteers visit families in their own homes and provide a listening ear, reassurance, help with the children, a shoulder to cry on, and help parents to access local services.

Volunteers form a vital part of our service to families in need, offering regular support to those who require our services.

 

 

B. Mentors

Mentors share their expertise to support young people 5 – 19 years to achieve their goals, supporting them to develop new skills and reach their own aspirations. Mentors come from all walks of life, they are people who wish to share skills to enrich children’s lives. Some have overcome difficult times in their own lives and now want to give their time and experience by helping another.

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Home-Start Colchester volunteers and mentors are invited to attend a Home-Start Course of Preparation and have an advanced Criminal Records Bureau police check prior to any volunteering duties. In addition to this, volunteers’ skills are continually updated with regular training and support sessions.

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What are the benefits for me?

You will get a real sense of fulfilment from being involved in the local community, make new friends, have fun, learn new skills and uncover hidden talents. Home-Start Colchester is committed to supporting the self-development of our volunteers, and assists volunteers in achieving their personal goals wherever we can.

What commitment do I need to make?
You’ll need to commit to at least 2-3 hours a week to visiting a family, undertake a DBS check and complete a 40-hour (10-day) preparation course. Prep courses usually take place during term time about three times a year and the hours are usually 9:30-2:30pm, one day per week. You will also need to attend monthly supervision sessions.

If you are interested in becoming a home-visiting volunteer for Home-Start Colchester please complete the application form below and return to us.

If you want to apply to become a young people mentor, please complete and return the application form below:

Mentor Application form

Are there other ways to get involved?

We are always looking for people to get involved in our work and often need new trustees and fundraisers. Contact us for more details of getting involved or alternatively, you can make a donation.

Existing Volunteers… Forms to Download

Volunteer expense form new!

Diary contact Sheet

Career progression for volunteers

Home-Start training and volunteering can be a stepping stone into further education or help progress a career. Many Home-Start volunteers go on to work as family support workers, social workers and other related jobs in the social care industry, and say that it was becoming a volunteer for Home-Start that made this possible.

Paul’s story

A terrible tragedy inspired father of four Paul Nolan to volunteer with Home-Start – the death of his mother in a house fire.

“It was as though my eyes had been opened,” says Paul. “I decided that you have one life and I wanted to make my life better by making other people’s lives better.”

So Paul went from “working more hours than there are in a week” as an area manager for a pub chain to a fully qualified health and social carer – and a Home-Start volunteer!

“I was attracted to Home-Start because I love children and I want to work with families, but I also knew it would help me towards my ultimate goal of being a social worker. The 10-week training course was impressive and the fact that Home-Start is a national organisation where I would get a lot of experience really appealed to me.”

If Paul’s career change is a success story, so is his work for Home-Start with Nikki, a young single mother to Jake.

“Nikki had split up with her baby’s father, was quite isolated and needed someone to talk to. Speaking to her for the first time, I was struck by her lack of confidence and the negative view she had of herself.”

“Now our meetings have changed. I used to offer Nikki advice and support, but now we talk about all the good things that are happening to her. Nikki now has a better relationship with her family and has found herself a job, a new network of friends and a healthy social life.”

“Supporting Nikki has been very interesting and greatly rewarding. I have watched her change from a shy young person with very low self esteem into a chatty, confident young woman who is looking forward to a bright future with her son.”