Families’ names and pictures have been changed to protect confidentiality
When I first assessed this family before placing a volunteer, I found an amazing mum, totally dedicated to the well-being of her children but physically and mentally exhausted by the strain of juggling their needs – a five year old with a complex condition and a lively, active three year old struggling to understand why his sister is wearing nappies and being fed but he is expected to feed himself and be toilet trained.
Additionally, mum is also coping with the deteriorating health of her own mother and her husband working long hours and often away from the family home. Adaptations were also taking place to the family home to allow for a downstairs bedroom and bathroom and a more open living space and these would prove fantastic when completed but, in the meantime, added to the stress levels in the family.
I placed a volunteer with a remit to give attention to both children to enable mum to attend to household chores, to give some individual attention to the younger child whilst including his sister where possible. The volunteer also hoped to give some much needed emotional support and encouragement to mum.
I placed the volunteer with the family and went back to review the situation after a few months. Mum told me how much she and the children benefitted from this support – they just wished they could have it every day! The volunteer understands of the needs of both children and gives attention to them both which has allowed mum to prepare meals, deal with washing and so on. She has also helped the family get out and helped them attend the Home-Start trip.
Just another example of the wonderful support our volunteers give to families in their own homes on a weekly basis.
Tallulah, a 24 year old Mum with 2 children aged 3 and 7 has cystic fibrosis, a life limiting condition which affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. It’s rare to have children when suffering from the condition.
I contacted Home-Start over two years ago, as I was new to the area, had twins and a very young family. I had no family support and I was feeling very isolated and sometimes overwhelmed by the responsibility and enormity of it all.