Home-Start Southwark

We're there for parents when they need us the most, because childhood can’t wait.

We're there for parents when they need us the most, because childhood can’t wait.


Family Case Studies

We feature three family stories on this page, one about Sylvia’s family a mother with mobility issues, a single parent with five children. Claudetta’s family, a mother with twins and one other sibling was referred with post natal depression and Helena’s volunteering experience. To view the case study, click on one of the titles below. The story will then appear in a section below. 

Helena's Volunteering Experience

Being a Home-Start Southwark volunteer has been very rewarding from the outset. I felt valued by both the organisation and the family I have supported. The initial training course was a comprehensive preparation for taking that first step into a family’s life and home and beginning the journey to support the family to become stronger and happier. I have since completed two more training courses – Bump to Babe and Child Development, both of which have served me well in supporting a family with eight month twins and a two-year-old girl.

Practical help with local services and an imminent house move from temporary accommodation was something that my family needed support with. The new permanent home was in a great location but was on the second floor with no lift. We applied for a grant to get the family a double buggy for the twins which made getting out a lot easier and there was the additional bonus that mum, having been isolated and depressed, felt that her family mattered and people in the wider community cared.

My challenge in making a difference, was ensuring that my support conveyed guidance and encouragement while being mindful that the family were doing their best for their children under difficult circumstances. Being a friend first went a long way in helping mum make positive changes; getting out of the house with three children was a big task so making it worth the huge effort was important.

I have been privileged in sharing some very happy fun times with the family – so much so that we still get together once a month and try and discover something new:  sand last time and, now it’s summer, a paddling pool in Brockwell Park.

Claudetta's Family

Bump to Babe Case Study

Claudetta* was referred to us by her health visitor who felt that she was at risk of post-natal depression. The new twins “Samantha” and “Troy” and their sister “Annabel”, aged 2 rarely left the house.   Claudetta and her husband “Emmanuel” fled civil war in West Africa and experienced homelessness and had moved from hostels to temporary accommodation twice since the birth of the twins. At the initial visit Claudetta was tearful saying she often broke down in front of the children.   Annabel’s behaviour had become more challenging since the twin’s birth and Claudetta was concerned about the upcoming transition to starting nursery.  On interacting with Annabel, we observed that she did not have any recognisable words. The family was matched with a volunteer, Heidi*, who visited weekly and helped make the following differences:

  • Helped mum to wean the twins and give healthier foods, leading to the improved nutrition ensuring growth and development
  • Improved mum’s ability to cope with the children’s behaviour and meet their needs so that she did not develop post-natal depression
  • Introduced the family to new experiences including parks and libraries
  • Supported mum to identify ways to incorporate communication in daily activities to stimulate conversation
  • Accessed a grant for a double pram, which resulted in increased confidence in accessing the community for appointments, activities and day-to-day tasks

Claudetta told us “Home-Start has made a big difference to my emotions. I was really down before and worried a lot. Having someone to talk to helped me so much. We’re now eating healthier and trying new foods. We go to the park and the children light up when Heidi is here. Life would have been miserable without the help. We’re a better family now because I am stronger.”

*Names in the case study have been changed and the photograph is not of the family.

Silvia's Family

A Family Story

Silvia* a single parent with four children, was referred to Home-Start Southwark by her health visitor after having her fifth child. The family lives in a three bedroom, third-floor flat with no lift. Silvia has no extended family support and she has mobility challenges due to her weight which also affects her ability to look after her children.

Silvia’s mobility issues meant that her older children acted as carers for their 5-year-old sibling and helped care for the new baby although this was not recognised until Home-Start became involved.  Silvia relied on her two eldest children to do the school run which resulted in poor attendance at school for her 5-year old and raised concerns about the older children’s ability to cope and lateness at school.

We worked holistically with the family by offering emotional support to Silvia, spending time playing with the younger children and talking to the older children about how they felt about looking after their sibling.

Home-Start arranged a Team Around the Child meeting with the primary school, Occupational Health and the secondary school where attendance issues were discussed and Silvia’s 5-year-old was offered free breakfast and a place at the after-school club during the term.  As a result, the 5-year-old had to be taken to school earlier with improved school attendance from 54% to 97% and the older siblings were able to get to school on time. Silvia also agreed to Home-Start making a referral to Young Carers so that her older children could get some respite and support. Occupational Health also put in mobility equipment to help support Silvia to be more mobile around the home.

The intervention helped Silvia meet the needs of her children which then allowed her older children to be children again without worrying about their younger siblings.

Names in the case study have been changed and the photograph is not of the family