Yesterday, the Duchess of Cambridge met with two local Home-Start Wandsworth families in Battersea Park. The families shared their experiences of how Home-Start Wandsworth helped them overcome some of the challenges they have faced before and during lockdown.
"It was magical, I still have butterflies. I feel she genuinely cares and sees the importance of charities like Home-Start. I feel she understood some of the challenges and could relate as one mother to another." - Irma Matus, Home-Start Wandsworth mum
Home-Start Wandsworth provides volunteer-led support to vulnerable families living in the borough. Since the beginning of lockdown, Home-Start Wandsworth adapted their core home-visiting service to provide families with non-judgemental emotional support via phone and video-call. Some cautious, socially distant face-to-face support is now restarting with visits to local parks.
“Having the volunteer keep in regular contact with me, meant that I didn’t ever feel things were spiralling out of control.” – Home-Start Wandsworth mum
During lockdown Home-Start Wandsworth:
· Delivered essential food, medical and baby supplies to families who were unable to leave their house.
· Provided additional resources to families including story books and art materials to help support parenting and child development and enhance quality of life.
· Distributed shopping and utility vouchers to families experiencing financial hardship.
· Ran weekly virtual coffee mornings providing peer to peer support in a safe and relaxed environment.
Home-Start Wandsworth has seen social distancing and isolation place enormous strain on families, especially those already suffering with poor mental health, physical illness and financial hardship. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that families have the support they need to cope and prevent them from slipping into crisis. However, it is an uphill struggle to continue to meet demand as the full effects of this pandemic are realised.