Organisation Spotlight: Home-Start UK

Happy May! Today’s organisation spotlight is on Home-Start, an organisation that connects volunteers with young families to prevent crisis.

Home-Start Logo
Home-Start Logo

Tell us a little about Home-Start:

“Home-Start is a voluntary organisation in which volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to young families under stress remotely or in their own homes helping to prevent family crisis or breakdown. Volunteers, who are parents or have parenting experience themselves, understand that sometimes family life can be tough and that is why their support can be so valuable in helping another family. Volunteers are central to the Home-Start service; we could not offer families the same support without them. We welcome people from all faiths and backgrounds to apply. Volunteers would be based in a family home in one of our boroughs (Richmond, Kingston or Hounslow)”

Why do you want to involve volunteers in your organisation?

“Home-Start is there to help families through their most challenging times by putting a trained volunteer on the doorstep of every family that needs them. By supporting parents and carers, we empower them, building confidence and resilience so that children can thrive”

What volunteer role/s do you have available at Home-Start?

“Home-Start House Visiting Volunteers aim to build the confidence and independence of the family by:

• Offering support, friendship and practical help

• Committing to a minimum of 1-2 hours per week for remote support or 2-3 hours per week home-visiting according to the family’s needs

• Visiting the families in their own homes, where the dignity and identity of each individual can be respected and protected

• Reassuring families that difficulties in bringing up children are not unusual

• Emphasising the positive aspects of family life

• Developing a relationship with the family providing a regular, reliable presence in that family

• Drawing on their own experience of parenting to encourage parents’ strengths and emotional well-being for the ultimate benefit of their own children

• Encouraging families to widen their network of relationships and to use effectively the support and services available in the community”

What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for Home-Start?

Just two hours of your week will make such a difference to a family. If you are compassionate, kind, committed and have parenting experience you could be our next Home Visiting Volunteer at Home-Start – Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow.

Interested in volunteering with Home-Start? Send them an email at or a message at 0116 464 5490.

Discover volunteering roles with organisations like Home-Start here. If you’re with an organisation and would like to get in touch, find Volunteering Kingston’s contact details here.

Volunteering through adversity: Ruth’s story

Ruth has dipped in and out of volunteering since her late teens, but it wasn’t until 2021 that it started featuring so prominently in her life. Suffering from mental health issues, Ruth had to resign from her full-time job as a hospital administrator back in 2016. The following years were marked by a series of difficulties, including temporary accommodation away from her community and intensive therapy. Ruth managed to continue therapy throughout the pandemic, which she says she’s incredibly grateful for. Ultimately, she would get referred to Volunteering Kingston and start her latest volunteering journey.

Ruth started volunteering with Kingston Snowflakes in February 2021 and has received a different task to execute every week. The group’s ultimate goal is to “make the world a better place” with every small action, and for Ruth it was an opportunity to once again start contributing towards society in a small but accessible way. “I was really, really overjoyed I was able to do something,” she explains. “Especially when things were at their worst this January with lockdown and the new (coronavirus) variants. Being able to make the tiniest bit of a difference and reach out to someone gave me enrichment. Like you’ve got meaning and purpose to actually make a difference.”

Her goal had been to start volunteering with a regular role when her therapy ended back in April, but the experience with Kingston Snowflakes was so rewarding that Ruth soon took up a second volunteer role at the Chatty Café Scheme, where, once a week, she speaks to a vulnerable adult who is experiencing loneliness and self-isolation. She didn’t stop there though. She also started volunteering at the Hogsmill Community Garden and at the Scope charity shop in Tolworth. Very quickly, Ruth was engaging with four different volunteering roles.

“My priorities in life have become a lot more black and white,” she says. “I’m very clear on what’s important to me. I’m not going to leave it behind this time. My time is being filled with meaningful things. I’m still unwell, but I’m starting to stretch my muscles again, getting myself back into a routine – a meaningful routine.”

Overall, she struggles to characterise the experience of volunteering, saying “a positive impact” is possibly not sufficiently emphatic to convey just how much it has transformed her life. “That’s possibly the understatement of the century!” she says with a laugh.

But when it comes to volunteering as a general concept, she’s resolute: “People don’t understand that a lot of jobs are completely voluntary. If people didn’t do them, they just wouldn’t get done. And when you find yourself touched by adversity, you start to see that most of the help you get is from charities and nowhere else. Basically, a lot of the good stuff that happens in this world happens because of volunteers.”

Do you feel inspired by this story? Would you like to volunteer and help make a difference in your community? Check out the current openings here.


This article was written by Dany Rubbo, Comms Volunteer at Volunteering Kingston.

Planning your gap year? Why not consider volunteering?

Lots of young people are planning their gap years after a tumultuous six months. A lot of normal gap year rites of passage are not possible at the moment. Volunteering is a great way of making the most of your gap year – it helps you gain new skills and knowledge, as well as providing experiences that will last a lifetime.

Volunteering can also be flexible around other commitments, such as re-taking exams, finding a part-time job and caring for others.

Of course, we have all had to take precautions during this period. When volunteering you should have a discussion to mitigate any risks. There are also loads of roles you can do from home, from helping a charity’s social media to making phone calls to isolated people.


Supporting people and communities

During this period we have seen an astonishing explosion in volunteering from the NHS Responders Volunteers to the informal Mutual Aid groups that have sprung up. Volunteers in formal and informal groups have delivered shopping, medical supplies and provided a friendly ear on the phone.

Past few months have exacerbated and exposed many social issues. Black Lives Matter and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities have encouraged many people to join antiracist campaigns. Loneliness and poverty have also been highlighted and many people have banded together in new and innovative ways to combat them.

If you want to make a difference and give your time to support the most vulnerable in society, you can search here for different causes.



Of course, volunteering is not only about others, but it can also help you gain new skills and experience in advance of further studying.

That could be gaining experience with children or supporting adults, getting admin or marketing experience for your first office job, or in an area of interest such as theatre or the environment.

When applying for your volunteer role, make sure that you are clear about what you want to learn and what skills you want to gain with the organisation. As you are helping them, they should support you in gaining the skills or let you know if that is not possible.



Travelling around the world may not be possible at the moment, but you can still get a taste of adventure and widen your horizons before you get back to studying or start your career.

You might consider full-time volunteering, which involves moving to another part of the country having accommodation and other expenses paid for. Find out more at full-time volunteering.

You might want to set up your own group to show your initiative and explore an area you are interested in. The Library Service can help you with this.


Support and advice

If you want any support or advice about volunteering please get in touch. You can reach us through

Call: 0300 365 9980



Facebook: @volunteeringkingston

Twitter: @vol_kingston

Visit Story Map to learn more about Volunteering Kington.