The expansion of Home-Start support across Gloucestershire will make a difference to families living in very rural communities in the Forest of Dean, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Stroud and North Cotswolds. As well as supporting work in inner city wards, where there is currently very little non-targeted support in the perinatal period.
Home-Start in Gloucestershire will focus on enabling parents to be the warm, consistent, nurturing and resilient carers that every child needs. We cannot prevent children from experiencing adversity but we work with parents to minimise the damage children suffer if they grow up experiencing chronic stress. Sometimes this means helping to break cycles of intergenerational harm. Many parents seek our help because they know that overcoming challenges linked to their own experiences in childhood is a vital part of giving their children the best start in life.
Building resilience in families matters because people cannot always avoid adversity. Resilience is the ability to adapt to and survive difficult times without suffering significant harm. We work to help families develop this strength but we are always aware that parents may be struggling because of issues which require wider society to help resolve. We connect families to the opportunities and services which help them become the change which can transform their children’s lives.
Our non-judgmental approach is taken with every family who seeks support, making time to listen and build strong relationships and trust. Focussing on how parents interact with their children and helping them see what a difference they can make to their children’s social, emotional and behavioural development. Research shows a strong association between chronic stress in childhood and poor lifelong wellbeing. Every child needs at least one stable, caring adult in their lives. We cannot avoid all adverse childhood experiences but confident, caring, connected parents can protect their children from experiencing chronic stress.
In 2018 over 75% of families referred to Home-Start Stroud were experiencing difficulties relating to loneliness and/or social isolation. Home-Start invests in peer support and building friendly, caring relationships between well-trained and supported volunteers and families.
In 2018, 90% of parents Home-Start Stroud District worked with felt less isolated as a result of their support. Good social support is linked to reduced social, emotional and behavioural problems in children.
We focus on early intervention and working with families in their own homes. This allows us to directly support the closing of the attainment gap for vulnerable pre-school children, by improving the home learning environment and raising the confidence of parents to be their child(ren)’s first educator.
Home-Start contacts:
Alex Corgier, Home-Start Stroud District,
Emma Desjardins, Home-Start North and West Gloucestershire