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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

First year of Home-Start Edinburgh sees more families in need supported

This news post is 6 months old

Merger has expanded the volunteer-based charity’s services to cover all of Edinburgh, meanwhile, demand for its services has increased

One year on from the merger that created Home-Start Edinburgh, 17% more families have been supported thanks to increased reach and efficiency within the charity.

Home-Start Edinburgh is Edinburgh’s family charity and was formed 12 months ago through the merger of two well-established charities, Home-Start Leith & North East Edinburgh and Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West.

The merger has expanded the volunteer-based charity’s services to cover all of Edinburgh, meanwhile, demand for its services has increased.

Home-Start Edinburgh's team of volunteers support families with young children who are struggling to cope for a variety of reasons. This can include isolation, mental or physical illness, crisis or bereavement, post-natal depression, and poverty. Volunteers often have parenting skills themselves and can offer peer support. They listen to the problems a family is facing, provide practical help, and put in place plans to build family resilience, helping to ensure the child or children have the best start in life.

In addition to in-home support, Home-Start Edinburgh runs regular groups and social events for the parents and children it supports, which help them build wider support networks. The charity also helps families purchase essential items when they are facing hardship.

The merger has expanded the reach of the charity to cover the south east of the city, and demand for its services has increased across all areas of Edinburgh. Throughout the last year, it has supported 313 families and 404 children.

Commenting on the first year of operation, Home-Start Edinburgh CEO, Eliza Waye, said: “I am pleased that one year on we have already seen a substantial increase in the number of families we are able to support, thanks to our dedicated and compassionate volunteer community. However, the need continues to outstrip our capacity, particularly as we now service the entire city.

“We have seen more families who need our services because low employment, increased financial pressures, and the lack of suitable housing options, which leads to additional stress and difficulty when you have young children. We have also seen an increase in needs from the growing refugee and migrant community, and more families with complex needs. As the needs continue to grow, so must we as a charity. In the coming year we are focused on growing our volunteer community and increasing our funding, helping us meet this critical need.”

Ben Macpherson MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith attended the launch of the charity, which is headquartered in his constituency, one year ago. On the anniversary, he said: “As the local MSP, I know from my casework how Home-Start Edinburgh is able to offer a helping hand with its range of services and support for those who need it. During a difficult period with the cost-of-living crisis, in the first year of their merger and re-launch, it is good that Home-Start Edinburgh has been able to help more families in our communities.

“Home-Start began its Edinburgh presence in Leith in 1986 and I am glad that the charity has expanded, so that families in all parts of the city can now benefit from their services. Please get in touch with them if you think you may be able to help. Also, thank you to all donors and volunteers for supporting Home-Start’s impactful work.”

Ester Mateo received support from Home-Start Edinburgh and is now training as a volunteer.

Ester said: "Home-Start supported me when I moved into a new area with young children. They helped me find activities for my kids so they could make new friends and feel less impact from the change. I knew that my volunteer would always be there when I needed help or advice. I've now applied to become a volunteer - this has given me a sense of purpose and achievement and I hope to help others.”