The title of Community Hero in the Spotlight for May has been won by “Home-Start South East Dorset”. This is a Dorset charity founded in 1995 and it is all about helping parents create a happy and healthy environment for their children and themselves.

Home-Start South East Dorset recognises that parenting can be sometimes the loneliness job in the world. It can be frustrating, heart breaking and overwhelming and some parents just need more support than others.

This is what motivated them to help over 3,500 families and over 10,000 children in the past 25 years and their fantastic work continues to flourish across Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Purbeck, South and East Dorset.  

Well-trained Home-Start volunteers offer support to families with at least one child under the age of 5. Normally, volunteers visit parents at home and work with them through problems they feel they are struggling with most. Also, parents can attend ‘Haven’ family groups where they have the chance to gain new skills, improve confidence and make new friends.

Over the last year, due to Covid-19, the charity has successfully adapted to deliver their valuable support digitally via over 280 Zoom sessions and 1500 hours of one-to-one support calls. “My phone call from my volunteer on a Tuesday is my lifeline”.

Another parent said: “Since the Coronavirus crisis, many other groups have been cancelled and all emotions and negative mental health are running very high in this uncertain time. I’m so grateful we’re still having our Haven group virtually with a call weekly and our WhatsApp group for immediate support”.

As part of their Covid-19 response, Home-Start South East Dorset aimed to make families feel connected by organising Wellness Walks when the restrictions were lifted. This initiative resulted in 400 miles walked in the last year. Also, 230 families and 467 children have been supported in this period.  

You can find out more information about Home-Start South East Dorset and how you can get involved on their website.