Project information

The Start Right Project

A 2-year project to recruit, train, match and supervise volunteers with specialist skills and confidence to support families with young children with very complex needs such as domestic violence, poverty, social exclusion, lone parents. Volunteers offer emotional, practical support and friendship.

June 2013 - May 2015

Charity information: Home-Start Lambeth

Home-Start Lambeth logo
  • Need


    The families referred to us often have a lack of knowledge of and confidence to use local services or have had a poor experience of services, often feel let down by professionals and may avoid contact with them. Many have experienced domestic violence, post natal depression, bereavement, ill health or lack strategies and tools around positive parenting. These issues can have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of the children and without support can lead to crisis and family breakdown.


    Trained volunteers will visit weekly for as long as support is needed. Support is tailored to the family’s needs to increase parents’ confidence and equip them with coping strategies. Volunteers could model positive parenting and play, offer reassurance, listen, and help access local services. Volunteers who are local and from similar backgrounds can offer support as an equal. Thus, volunteers are often accepted and able to support families where statutory services may not be accepted.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    For parents / carers to report they have learnt new parenting skills or improved existing ones.


    » Volunteers to model positive parenting skills.
    » Volunteers to help parents understand importance of setting boundaries, and how to do it.

    What success will look like

    75% of parents/carers involved in the project will report this improvement.

    Aim 2

    For parents/carers to report improved confidence & better interaction with their children.


    » Identify areas of difficluty and how to build on areas of strength.
    » Volunteers to model positive communication with children.
    » Volunteers to model positive play.
    » Volunteers to provide positive reinforcement of parent's strengths.

    What success will look like

    75% of parents / carers involved in the project will report this improvement.

    Aim 3

    To reduce isolation through increased use of local services.


    » Signposting to other services.
    » Encouraging / assisting parents to attend parent groups.
    » Encouraging / assisting parents to attend family activities and groups.
    » Share information about local services and activities.

    What success will look like

    75% of parents/carers involved in the project will report this improvement.

  • Impact


    Through support families will break the cycle of deprivation, be more confident and robust, able to articulate their needs and to access services they need for themselves and their children. Children will have what they need to be able to succeed in education and fulfil their potential.

    We will track the family's journey of change set from an agreed baseline at initial visit and show the mechanisms that produce the outcomes and the (often complex) contexts in which these are triggered.


    As we rely heavily on volunteers we have built up effective methods to recruit volunteers and publicise the service widely. We retain our volunteers by equipping them fully, providing supervision and advice regularly and holding regular social events.
    We are known to a variety of referrers across the borough to ensure we receive referrals from the neediest families. We send out monthly e-bulletins, attend professional’s meetings and forums, and hold networking events.


    This depends on the requirements of the donor and we would discuss that through with them. The Scheme currently reports to donors on a quartely or annually basis.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £44,421

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      Amount Heading Description
      £25,689 Coordinator salary Salary of Family Support Co-ordinator (30 hrs pw, £29,971 pro rata)
      £3,082 Employers costs Employer's NI (12.6%)
      £2,650 Volunteers Recruitment, training materials, travel expenses for training / matched visits
      £6,000 Operational costs Telephone, internet, insurance, Home-Start UK fee
      £7,000 Management costs Supervision, monitoring and evaluation contribution

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Walcot Foundation £19,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Start Right project will be delivered borough-wide. Volunteer supoport will be deliverd in the family's home and training will be delivered in Children's Centres.


    - Disadvantaged families with at least one child under the age of 5
    - Young parents under 30 years old
    - Women (99% of parents and volunteers are women)
    - Lone parents (over 50% of referrals are single parents)
    - Volunteers - opportunity to gain training and skills (approx. 60% go on to further training and 30% enter employment.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are an established local charity with a track record of providing efficient and effective support to local families. We have strong governance through our Board of Trustees, established policies and procedures, and very able members of staff who have the trust of our families and other stakeholders. The charity has a network of contacts across the borough, ensuring that we receive referrals for support for those most in need and can target our resources accordingly.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jenny Cunniffe

    Coordinator -Train, match and supervise volunteers -Assess and regularly review needs of families -Safeguard and promote wellbeing of children.

    Sarah Parkhouse

    Scheme Manager - Monitoring and evaluation - Staff management and supervision - Publicity - Financial management.

    Sian Sinclair

    Trustee - Training volunteers - Strategic direction.

Home-Start has changed my life, gave me a new hope, put a light in my life. It’s like I was in the dark and Home-Start opened the door.