Giving Back: Home-Start in Suffolk

Home-Start in Suffolk Supporting Suffolk families for 20 years
By Tara Somers, CEO, Home-Start in Suffolk

Home-Start in Suffolk has been dedicated to supporting Suffolk families struggling to cope with mental health, social isolation, poverty, illness, bereavement, family breakdowns and domestic abuse since 1999.

Supporting children to become healthy and happy adults is crucial to developing thriving communities and ultimately to making society fairer and more prosperous.

Family dynamics clearly play a critical role in any child’s life; having a huge impact on their health, social interaction and educational attainment. As families break down, there is greater involvement of costly state interventions.

We believe the best opportunity to break cycles of adversity, reduce the likelihood of children passing on their negative experiences to their children and improve the health and wellbeing of our society, is in a child’s early years. Our vision is to empower parents and guardians with the skills, knowledge and emotional resilience to raise children to flourish.

Families are referred to Home-Start in Suffolk by statutory agencies such as Social Services, Early Help Teams, Heath Visitors and Midwives. Each family’s needs are assessed by one of the staff coordinators and appropriately matched to a volunteer.

We are lucky to have an amazing network of over 200 fully trained volunteers offering regular confidential support and practical help to vulnerable families in their own homes. Our volunteers are what make our organisation special and without their dedication, valued experience and support we would not be able to provide the families with this vital service.

So how can you help?

Volunteer: In the last year our volunteers supported 1,400 people, but with over 33,000 children living in poverty across the county and potentially 16,000 families that need our help, the need to recruit more volunteers is increasing.

Fundraise: In our 20th birthday year, we have launched a new fundraising initiative “The Platinum Challenge”. Aimed at gaining support from 20 local businesses, The Platinum Challenge invites organisations to sponsor a year from 1999 to 2019 and pledge to raise a minimum of £1000 over twelve months through fundraising activities. So far, nine organisations have pledged their support.

Advocate: Our Ambassadorial Programme is another great opportunity for the business community to get involved. As well as helping to recruit volunteers, Ambassadors help raise awareness of our work and make introductions to key people and businesses who could potentially boost Home-Start’s profile and fundraising activities.

Home-Start in Suffolk also welcomed a new Patron, author Anthony Horwitz OBE, who is determined to be involved as much as he can. He said: “Home-Start in Suffolk does very valuable work right where it matters, inside the community, inside people’s homes! I love the way it brings together local volunteers giving them the training and the support they need to be able to help families. A small, dedicated, hard-working organisation…for me, charity begins at Home-Start.”

The children of Suffolk are our future friends, employees and business leaders. Can you help to give Suffolk a brighter future? Then Home-Start in Suffolk would be delighted to talk to you.

Tara Somers is CEO at Home-Start in Suffolk. If you would like to know more, then please get in touch: T: 01473 621104 E: or visit

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