Our Volunteers

At the heart of Home-Start is the belief that parents play the key role in giving their children the best start in life and that other parents or those who have had parenting experience have the knowledge and understanding to support those families who need help.

Home-Start East Sussex has developed an excellent reputation within the Voluntary Sector, providing opportunities for volunteers to develop new skills, meet new people, feel valued and have fun, with the support of staff committed to ensuring that they get the most from their volunteering experience. 

Many of our volunteers have used their experience as a stepping stone to paid employment.


I think that what the volunteers do for people like myself is fantastic. I wish that one day I will be able to repay what you do and become a volunteer myself.

Local Family


Reasons for volunteering

Volunteers give their time for many reasons:

  • To make a difference to a family’s life
  • Give something back to their local community
  • Return the support they once received from Home-Start
  • Share a similar experience
  • Boost their confidence
  • Prepare for returning to work or to progress their career
  • Because they have time to spare
Our volunteers get a lot out of helping children and families and often continue volunteering for a number of years.

Many of our volunteers have used their experience as a stepping stone to paid employment.

The difference volunteers make

Our volunteers play a vital role in releasing the potential of parents, and giving children the best possible start in life.

Our dedicated volunteers are making a real difference to the lives of children and families in communities across the UK.

Last year more than 90% of the families our volunteers had supported said they felt:

  • more involved in their children’s development
  • their children’s emotional and physical health and well being had improved
  • better able to manage their children’s behaviour
  • less isolated
  • less stressed
  • more able to cope with day-to-day running of the house
  • they were using local services more

Volunteer stories

Here are what some of our volunteers have said about their experience:

I have been a sounding board, a facilitator, a bottle giver, a play mate, a boundary giver, a friend- all at the same time. At times it is tiring and frustrating and then at other times there is laughter and love.


I continue to volunteer with Home-Start because amongst witnessing and experiencing all these difficulties and pleasures with a family, seeing how a situation can change for the better, and knowing that I am playing some small part in this, is incredibly rewarding.


Volunteering at Home-Start with a family really develops your listening skills- as any opinions you have need to be kept to yourself. This I found difficult to start with but now I always use this skill and find it very rewarding.


I feel excited and honoured to be part of something which allows families and individuals to develop independence and blossom in strength and confidence.


Being a Home-Start volunteer is a privilege as you become part of another family’s life and this has given me perspective outside my own life experience. Just being there for the families I support is simply what motivates me, as this is often what they don’t have present in their lives.

Rachel (now a qualified social worker after using her volunteering experience as part of her application)

Volunteering for our Home Visiting Service

(Due to the current restrictions we are unable to take any new volunteers- please do get in contact, by email at info@hses.org.uk, if you’d like us to save your details for once we are able to do so).
  • Parent-focused service primarily taking place in the families’ own home
  • Service offered to families with at least one child under five who need some support to help meet the needs of their children, but do not have complex or multiple problems
  • After attending a matching visit with their Coordinator, volunteers visit families for approximately three months
  • Visits are 2-3 hours a week with a focus on one or two achievable objectives
  • Volunteer Role:   to support the parent with issues such as; isolation – e.g. helping parents to identify and engage with a local baby group, toddler behavioural issues, cooking healthy meals on a budget
  • Volunteers receive regular supervision

Other volunteering opportunities

We sometimes have other volunteering opportunities, if you would like to volunteer with us in a different capacity then do get in touch and we will happily discuss this with you.

Please send queries to info@hses.org.uk


How volunteers can help

We support any family that is struggling to cope, often where there is at least one child under five.

Families may need support due to:

  • isolation
  • illness or injury
  • disability or mental health issues
  • bereavement
  • relationship problems
  • multiple births
  • teenage pregnancy or being a young parent
  • feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or unhappy
  • poverty or financial difficulties
  • poor housing
  • substance abuse
  • domestic violence

Volunteers offer tailor-made, emotional and practical support to families through:

  • help getting to appointments
  • establishing routines
  • accessing benefits, grants and financial support
  • using local services or specialist support
  • getting the family involved with the local community
  • encouraging play and reading with their children
  • listening to the family’s worries or concerns
  • offering a shoulder to cry on
  • sharing your own experiences of parenting and family life
  • being there because you want to – not because someone has ‘sent’ you
  • giving parents a break
  • offering advice
  • providing support, friendship and encouragement

How to apply

Training and support

All home-visiting volunteers will:

  • Undertake an 8 week course of preparation that takes place one day a week. This fully prepares volunteers for their role.
  • Receive lots of support both during the preparation course and after, when they are supporting Home-Start families from a designated co-ordinator.
  • Can access additional accredited training and social events throughout the year.
  • Receive all out of pocket expenses incurred whilst volunteering for Home-Start.

Our training course runs one day a week  from 9.30am to 2.30pm. The subjects covered are as follows:

  • Introduction and Role of Volunteer
  • Values and Attitudes
  • Parents and their children
  • How Home-Start helps families
  • Family life and supporting parents
  • Listening to families
  • Confidentiality
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Commitment and boundaries
  • Practicalities and Endings
If you are interested in joining us as a home-visiting volunteer please download and read these documents:

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