Our September AGM was attended by Mayoral parties from Dartford, Swanley and Gravesend – Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, Council Lead Jeremy Kite + 60 other guests.

Manager Debbie outlined scheme activities throughout ‘Covid times’ praising staff and volunteers for their continued support of families (by phone, facetime, garden visits, park walks until home visiting began again)

Healthy cooking classes for groups of eight families via Zoom had proved popular, followed by pizza making for groups of children – and weekly picnics in Central Park brought families together in safe outdoor groups throughout the school Summer holiday.

Training of newly recruited volunteers continued throughout the year, involving online sessions as and when necessary.

The pandemic seems to have increased empathy and compassion, with a marked increase in people wanting to ‘make a difference’ by donating their time, food, clothes, equipment etc.

A selection of volunteers and parents told their Home-Start stories at the meeting, including

  • volunteer Anna who recently qualified as a Social Worker, thanks to her experience with Home-Start
  • recently retired Head Teacher Dawn, described volunteer training as “absolutely brilliant” as she spoke alongside the mum of six she supports, who “would be lost without Home-Start”
  • single parent Vicki described fear of judgement initially preventing her seeking support – and her relief in discovering that has never been an issue with Home-Start.  She has benefited from having a home visiting volunteer, meeting with other families in groups, attending one-to-one sessions with qualified counsellor Debbie and knowing there is always someone at the end of the phone. 

And fully intends to train as a volunteer herself once both children are settled in school

  • mother of four Esther – having been moved around several times since arriving in the UK, reported having “nothing” as Home-Start entered her life providing a volunteer who speaks her language and “understands”.  She now has hope and no longer feels alone
  • to conclude the meeting, while presenting volunteer certificates, Dartford Mayor Councillor Currans described our service as “fantastic”

please click the links below for more information, photos and videos

 September AGM 2021

Healthy Cooking Classes

Summer 2021 Activities, picnic in the park, kids cooking classes

volunteering for Home-Start North West Kent