Home Link Family Support is currently looking for volunteers to support families with pre-school children by visiting them at home for 2 hours per week.
The award winning charity has been working in Edinburgh and Midlothian for 29 years, working with families in their own homes to ensure the best start in life for children.
They are looking for volunteers who can be positive and encouraging with a vulnerable family to help encourage their child’s development and to be a sympathetic ear to listen to the parents concerns. Some families do not have other family members or close friends to support them so your work with them can make a big difference.
The charity states that children who are encouraged to learn and read will have better chances in life. Reading stories to babies stimulates their imagination and creativity, which helps them develop better problem-solving skills.
As a volunteer you will be able to introduce toddlers to books, nursery rhymes and simple songs. They say that no previous experience or special skills are required but you will be laying the foundations that will help a child to thrive in school.
It is not all about reading either as they would like volunteers to help the family to get organised to get outside for fresh air and fun.
Training will be provided to enable you to visit a family for 2-3 hours a week to offer emotional and practical support. They only ask that you are over 18, very reliable and positive; you don’t have to be a parent yourself. Volunteers visit one family weekly for a year, in order to build up a trusting relationship.
As well as the training Home Link Family Support will make sure you are supported in your work. You’ll have a named Project Worker who will meet you regularly to make sure everything is going well for you. All travel and expenses costs will be reimbursed. You can also take part in optional extra training in First Aid, Mental Health, Child Literacy and Play.
The families that you as a volunteer would visit will have been identified as needing some help, they may be a bit chaotic and challenging. Some families may be expecting a baby, most will already have children under 5. Most of them would like some help because they are lonely, some lack confidence with their parenting. All of the people that Home Link Family Support works with just need someone to talk to and a friendly face to encourage them to get outside and have more fun.
The charities volunteers come from different backgrounds, some are students who want solid experience to match their courses, some can be retired people with energy to spare, others are people who are thinking of changing career and want to dip a toe into Children & Families, or simply just people who remember how tricky those early years were and want to help out. By volunteering with them it can give you excellent and relevant experience to add to your CV.
A recent volunteer said:
“I’ve very much enjoyed my time working with Home Link. The training opportunities are fantastic and helped me in getting my current job. I value the 2 hours I spend a week with my Home Link family, and it is a good feeling to know that I’m helping them and it has allowed me to meet some wonderful people.”
They hold training courses every few months with the next one taking place in February 2016.
You can contact Jane Ellis at Home Link Family Support for details on the training and more information by calling 0131 661 0890 or by emailing Info@homelinkfamilysupport.org.
More details can also be found on their website here.