Volunteering with Families

What's it like being a Home-Start Volunteer?

You may be spending time with a young parent, helping to build their confidence as they adapt to life with a small baby, perhaps a family who finds getting out of the house difficult will need your support.  You may be an extra pair of hands to help a family with several children or you could give a listening ear to a mother who is suffering from post natal depression.  A Home-Start volunteer offers support and friendship to parents and families in a way that meets their needs.

  • Home-Start volunteers can help increase confidence and independence in the families they support:
  • you’ll be a lifeline for a family, helping them develop the skills they need to cope in the future by increasing their confidence and independence
  • you’ll develop a a relationship with the family in which time can be shared and a friendship developed
  • it feels like a privilege to visit families in their own homes, where the dignity and identity of each individual can be respected and protected
  • every family is different
  • spending a few hours helping other people can make you feel good about yourself.

What will I get from being a Home-Start Volunteer?

  • You will make a difference to a family’s life by supporting parents to give their children the best possible start in life
  • You will be giving something back to your community
  • You will be part of a wider, friendly team
  • You will meet new people and make new friendships 

What support will I receive?

  • Continuing support, supervision and training sessions
  • We can provide references for Volunteers, (based on their voluntary role with Home-Start), seeking employment or training
  • Support of the Co-ordinators, Administrator, other Volunteers and the Management Committee.  The Management Committee will include two representative Volunteers
  • You’ll get ongoing training for self-development
  • Travel expenses

  "One thing that I always take away from volunteering for Home-Start is the 'feel-good factor'. Working in a supportive environment with positive people and occasionally being told that just being there made all the difference to someone's life is reward enough for me."
Chris, Home-Start Volunteer 

What kind of people are we looking for?

It is important you believe in the same Home-Start principles and the ways of treating other people that we do. We would like our volunteers to:

  • Have a positive and respectful attitude to working with people of any gender, family status or sexuality identity, or who are from any ethnic origin, culture or religion, or who may have a disability
  • Be empathetic and demonstrate a sensitive and caring attitude towards others
  • Have a non-judgemental attitude
  • Be discreet and careful with information
  • Be reliable and understand the importance of reliability to the family
  • Have good communication skills including an ability to listen
  • Be prepared to keep records as requested by the Scheme

If you have an interest in children and families, you can be a Home-Start Volunteer. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re not a parent yourself. What matters is that you want to help give children the best possible start in life.

How much time will I need to give?

Volunteers typically visit a family for 2 to 3 hours a week. In addition, you will need to commit to

  • Initial course of preparation, which will normally involve 5 hours per week for 6 weeks
  • A minimum of one year’s volunteering following completion of your training
  • Regular support and supervision with the Volunteer Co-ordinator
  • You will need to complete our preparation course, supply references and complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring check. We also ask that you commit to volunteering with us for at least a year upon completion of the training course.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can also contact us on 01392 826299 for an informal chat. You can download application documents and more information via the links below or we can send these to you. Do read the Volunteer Role / Person Specification and the Volunteer's Information Leaflet thoroughly before completing an Application Form (Word or pdf version). On receipt of your application, one of our Volunteer Coordinators will contact you and arrange to meet you for a more detailed chat.


Trustees are men and women who help guide Home-Start Exeter and East Devon and contribute to the leadership and direction, so staff can manage the day-to-day operations and home-visiting volunteers can get on with the job of supporting families.

Our Trustees come from all walks of life, bringing their experiences and individual skills to the scheme. The kind of skills that are in demand are business or personnel management, finance and fundraising, IT and communications.  But you don't need special qualifications to be a Trustee - common sense, flexibility, time an ability to work as part of a team, a willingness to learn, understanding of the pressures facing parents today and a genuine interest in supporting parents in the community are just as important to us.

What should I do next?

Email us... for more information or call us on 01392 826299 for an informal chat about being a Trustee. There is no commitment at this stage.

Registered Charity No: 1116385
Registered Company No: 5818942