Do you need support?
Q. Can I self-refer?
A. Yes, by using our self-referral form located here.
Q. The referral form isn't working for me / won't allow me to submit. What should I do?
A. Our referral form works on GOOGLE CHROME and FIREFOX and not on INTERNET EXPLORER. Please ensure you are using the most updated versions of Google Chrome or Firefox (it will not work on outdated versions).
If you are still experiencing issues, please call our switchboard 07759 206012.
Q. What services do you offer?
A. Please find a list of our services here.
Q. I’ve been referred to Home-Start. What happens next?
A. Once we receive a referral, our Family Support Coordinators will be in touch with you to see how we can best support the needs of you and your family.
Q. I have days when I can’t cope well, but some days I am okay. I’m not sure my situation is bad enough to justify having a volunteer to help me. What should I do?
A. Give us a call on 020 8371 0674 to have an informal chat with one of our Coordinators. From this discussion, they will be able to offer guidance as to what services might be best to support your needs.
Alternatively, use our self-referral form and a Coordinator will be in touch to discuss you and your family’s needs.
You deserve support and we are here.
Q. I have older children - can I still request help?
A. Some of our services work with families with older children. To see a list of these services, please click here.
Q. What if I change my mind?
A. It is okay to change your mind. Simply give us a call on 020 8371 0674 and let us know.
Q. How long will a volunteer work with me?
A. Our work is usually short to medium term in length. After the initial assessment, when we will discuss the needs of you and your family, we will consider how we can best support you and how long a volunteer will be needed to offer this kind of support.
Q. What checks do volunteers go through before working with a family?
A. All our volunteers are required to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosure (a DBS check). They also provide the name and contact details of two referees, both of whom will be contacted for a reference.
Q. What training do volunteers receive before working with a family?
A. All our volunteers undergo a 25-hour training course, which has been designed to give them the skills needed to support our families. Volunteers may also attend additional training in certain topics in order to deepen their expertise in supporting with different scenarios.
Q. I’m worried about having a stranger visit me to help me. What are the volunteers like?
A. We try really hard to find the “right” volunteer for you. They are all friendly and caring people, selected for their warmth and understanding.
Q. How do I apply to be a volunteer?
A. You can apply through our enquiry form here.
Q. Do you offer placements for students?
A. Yes, we offer trainee counsellors and social work students the opportunity to practice with us as part of their overall vocational training.
Q. I think I’d like to be a volunteer for Home-Start; what qualifications do I need?
A. To be a home-visting volunteer, or to work with our family groups, you simply need to have a caring, understanding attitude to young families who are experiencing difficulties. We would also ask that you have some experience of working with children.
If you would like to volunteer in another capacity, you do not need any qualifications! We would love to hear what other skills and experience you can bring to your volunteering.
Q. What is the commitment for Home-Start volunteers?
A. For home-visiting volunteers, you need to be able to offer to visit a family once a week for a few hours each time. You will also need to attend a 25-hour prepatory course.
For our family group volunteers, you will need to be able to commit to the timings of the group. You would also need to attend the 25-hour prepatory course.
For our other volunteer roles, your volunteering can work around the time you have available – there is no minimum requirement.
Q. Can I volunteer on weekends or evenings?
A. Absolutely! Our home-visiting/family group volunteers support families during working hours, but our other roles are hugely flexible and allow you to do your volunteering when it best suits you. If you would like to ask more, simply send us an enquiry and we will be in touch to have an informal chat.
Q. Can I volunteer without the training?
A. If you would like to volunteer as a home-visiting volunteer, or to work with our family groups, you will need to attend our prep training course. Our training is designed to give you the skills and confidence to work with our families and is one of the ways we ensure are families are receiving the support they require.
If you would like to volunteer in other ways, you do not need to attend the prep course.
Q. Do I have to be a parent to volunteer?
A. No. All that we ask is that you have some experience with children if you would like to be a home-visiting or family groups volunteer.
Q. Can I have a job with Home-Start once I have volunteered?
A. We share all available roles with volunteers, and they are welcome to apply. You can find a list of our vacancies here.
Q. Would I receive support as a home-visiting volunteer?
A. Throughout your journey with Home-Start, you will receive ongoing support from one of our Family Support Coordinators, and will, from time-to-time, be offered additional training to help with specific situations.
Q. Do you pay volunteer expenses?
A. Yes, we pay travel and telephone expenses.
Q. Do you provide references for volunteers?
A. Yes, after one year of volunteering, we would be happy to provide a reference for you. This is one of the many benefits of volunteering – it can build experience for your CV and help you on your onward career path!
Q. What happens after I submit an application to volunteer?
A. If everything seems like a good fit, our Volunteering Manager will call you for an informal chat and take a few more details. She will then arrange an interview with you. For safer recruitment purposes, we will conduct an enhanced DBS check and take two references. If you are accepted, you will be enrolled in our 25-hour training course.
Q. How do I submit a diary sheet?
A. The Diary Sheet for volunteers can be found here.
Q. How can I support the charity?
A. There are many ways you can support us. Please visit our Support Us page for more details.
Q. How can I become a trustee for the charity?
A. Please visit our recruitment page to see our current vacancies for both trustee and staff roles.
Q. Are you the same charity as Home-Start UK?
A. Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow is an independent charity working at a local level. Home-Start UK is a national umbrella organisation that provides support to a network of over 180 independent schemes like ours.
Q. What are the charity's opening hours?
A. Our offices at Avenue House are open from 09:00 – 17:00, Monday – Friday. We are not open in the evenings at weekends. Many of our staff work part-time and have varying hours, so please bear with us when waiting on a response to any query you may have.
Q. Do you accept donations of physical goods?
A. We are able to accept donations of physical goods by enquiry only.
Covid-19 specific FAQs
Q. Are you still accepting referrals during Covid-19 measures?
Q. What services are running during Covid-19 measures?
A. Our 1:1 home-visiting support services have now resumed. We will update the availability of this service as new guidance is provided by the relevant professional bodies and Home-Start UK as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
Q. Are your volunteers still meeting with families in their homes at this time?
A. Our volunteers are now making a return to home-visiting. However, we will continue to update the level of service we can provide based on guidance provided by the government, relevant professional bodies and Home-Start UK as the country navigates the coming months.
Q. Are your staff working at the office during this time?
A. We are now making a cautious return to office working. However, the majority of staff are working between the office and home at this time and this will sometimes cause delays to our response time. Please bear with us as we navigate this as a team during the coming months.