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Cathedral Event Raises Profile And Work Of Family Support Charity Home-Start Guildford

Home-Start Guildford is an independent charity that may not be as well known as others locally, but its work supporting families is far reaching.

To raise awareness of its work and how it is funded, the patrons of Home-Start Guildford invited guests to an event at Guildford Cathedral on Friday evening (October 27), to which they also had a chance to see the newly transformed interior of the cathedral, that included a tour of its tower.

The Dean of Guildford Cathedral, the Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams, is one of its patrons. Other include Guildford MP Anne Milton, borough councillors Pauline Searle and Jennifer Jordan, and Diana Jones, Liz Hauck and Ruth Jubert.

It provides one-to-one support for parents who are struggling to cope in difficult circumstances. These include post-natal depression, isolation, illness or a disability of parent or child, domestic abuse, family breakdown and housing problems.

Its team of trained volunteers work extremely hard making weekly visits to families offering confidential, non-judgmental, practical and emotional support.

Covering the borough of Guildford and Bookham and Fetcham in Mole Valley in the past year alone Home-Start Guildford has supported 189 families, has helped transform the lives of 400 children, all with a tiny team of paid staff and more than 100 volunteers.

Seventy-one of those volunteers directly support families, 37 volunteers include trustees, admin volunteers and fundraising volunteers.

Pictured at Home-Start Guildford’s event at Guildford Cathedral are the chairman of its trustees, Hugh Shanks; with patrons Pauline Searle, the Very Revd Diana Gwilliams, Diana Jones, Ruth Jubert, Liz Hauck and Jennifer Jordan.

The chairman of its trustees, Hugh Shanks, gave a presentation about charity and the support it gives. Families eligible for its help have to have one child who is under the age of five.

He spoke about the scale of the work it does, which has increased over the past 20 years. During the first 10 years 300 families were helped, with 800 families in the past 10 years. He said this is due to factors including population growth, council budgets being squeezed, and its own profile being raised.

Explaining the difference that the charity makes to families, Hugh said that from its own own surveys families are very complimentary, and so are health visitors who continue to make referrals to the charity.

He noted that although Guildford appears to be an affluent place in which to live, it has two of the most deprived areas in Surrey.  He added that to provide effective help, it is crucial to help families in the years before their children go to school.

Like so many charities, continued funding can be a worry. Currently, Home-start Guildford costs around £150,00 a year to run. Surrey County Council funds 37% of that, with further funds donated by trusts and organisations (Ripley Farmers’ Market and the Albury Music Festival being two examples), as well as individuals who help to fundraise as well.

Hugh said that new ways to raise funds are being explored and the event on Friday night was to “kick-start” a programme to encourage individual giving. Businesses are being asked to help.

Home-Start Guildford is grateful for any financial help and states:

  • £3,000 trains 12 new volunteers to support local families
  • £1,250 provides a family with a Home-Start volunteer for a year
  • £750 pays for a new family party for 20 families and 50 children
  • £350 funds a family attending its family group for a year
  • £250 trains one Home-Start volunteer to support a family
  • £30 gives a family a day out

Businesses can support by:

  • Being Home-Start Guildford’s charity of the year
  • Offering gifts in kind
  • Making donations and holding staff fundraising events
  • Matched giving
  • Payroll giving
  • Plus sponsorship opportunities

For more details of those, contact its fundraising and development officer, Jan Eastaff at development@hsguildford.org.uk Tel: 01483 511181.

If you would like further details about becoming a trained volunteer send an email to office@hsguildford.org.uk or telephone 01483 511181.

If you are a family that needs help, or know of a family who may, and would like further details, send an email to the address above, or call the number above.

Home-Start Guildford is based at Astolat, Coniers Way, Burpham GU4 7HL

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