THE OUTGOING mayor of Chichester has praised the outstanding work done by a charity helping young families in the district.
John Hughes praised the work of Home-Start, saying he wished it well for the future.
“It’s been a privilege to work at raising not only much-needed funds for Home-Start but also raise the profile of such a worthwhile charity,” he said.
“The team at Home-Start work extremely hard and the fact people who have received help and advice often turn around and help others – knowing from firsthand what is needed – speaks volumes.”
Trustee Dominic Barsby and fundraiser Jane Meechan said the Chichester branch of the charity played a crucial role and was incredibly grateful for Mr Hughes’ support.
“On a purely financial basis it’s been fantastic,” said Dominic. “But on more profile raising, it’s been equally good. The Lions have donated money to us. Other corporates have donated money to us because they’ve seen us at events.”
Although identities are kept anonymous, Home-Start has a number of case studies of people it has helped.
They include a married couple with four children living in the north of the district.
Both parents have learning difficulties, with the father in full-time employment and the mother looking after the children full time.
“Our volunteer originally went in to give mum a hand with play ideas and daily routines,” said the charity. “Mum worked really hard to practise what was being shown.”
As time progressed, the eldest child was having difficulties at school so Home-Start supported the family with working with the school to find a school more appropriate for her needs.
Others it recently helped include a lone mother in Selsey and a married couple with a one-year-old daughter in Chichester.
The charity has 65 volunteers on the books at the moment, 45 working with families..
“I think the volunteers don’t get enough recognition of the amount of hours they give selflessly,” said Jane.
“A lot of these volunteers haven’t got a lot of money themselves.”
The Chichester branch, which is an off-shoot of the national charity, now has to continue without the mayor’s support, as well as without grants from West Sussex County Council.
The charity now has a budget of £83,000 per year to help around 80 families.
Jane said around £1,000 per year spending on a family meant ‘thousands and thousands of savings for social services’ in terms of future costs.
“We’re so cheap for what we do,” said Dominic. The money would have to come from somewhere to help the families.”
Visit the website www.home-startchichester.org.uk.