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Project information

Give Families Hope

Poor parental mental health often leads to poor life chances for their children especially when exacerbated by poverty and social isolation. Our project improves families' mental health and facilitates better parenting bringing life-changing results to all members of the family.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Home-Start Butser

Home-Start Butser logo
  • Need


    Home-Start Butser supports families with young children going through a crisis. Each year the numbers referred to us with identified mental health issues are increasing and over 50% of the parents identify with mental health issues such as depression, PND, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar disorder.
    These factors are strongly linked to other problems such as abuse, neglect, social isolation which in turn leads to anxiety, behavioural problems and poor long-term outcomes for their children.


    Trained, local volunteers with parenting experience offer weekly, non-judgmental support. The project aims to give practical help to address a range of issues relating to parents’ mental health, including:
    Physical barriers - getting there on time, childcare, transport
    Emotional barriers - lack of confidence, anxiety
    Environmental barriers - chaotic lifestyles
    Stigma attached to mental health
    Lack of awareness of services available
    Volunteers are trained and supervised regularly

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve parents' mental health and parenting so all family members have better life chances.


    » Local volunteers are recruited and attend an 11-week family support training plus additional bespoke training sessions around mental health issues.
    » Consistent, long-term weekly visits from carefully matched volunteers offering befriending, mentoring and parenting skills
    » Signposting to and practical support to access mental health services. Volunteers may accompany to provide advocacy, moral support and transport.
    » Signposting and practical help to access other beneficial local services: housing, libraries, CAB, food bank, GPs, Early Help Hubs, other charities.

    What success will look like

    We'll use MESH (Measuring and Evaluation System Home-Start) a robust, proven tool, to demonstrate progress in child/parent well-being, parenting skills and family management.

    Aim 2

    Reduce social isolation of families with mental health issues


    » Run a weekly Family Group including input from Mind. Children play and parents receive support and friendship from others with similar issues

    What success will look like

    We record attendance at groups and other social interactions. MESH uses self-reporting and Co-ordinor reviews to demonstrate a reduction in isolation.

    Aim 3

    Parents gain the confidence to take responsibility for managing their own mental health needs.


    » Throughout the programme volunteers encouarge parents to focus on positives in their lives to develop the self-esteem required to manage their lives.

    What success will look like

    MESH will demonstrate this move from being supported and directed towards taking responsibility for managing their own mental health and parenting. Case studies will back this up.

  • Impact


    We have a proven track record over 20 years of helping many families with mental health problems move from crisis to become stronger families. Eg a mother and baby from Bangladesh - she spoke no English, with no family or social support and was struggling with a number of issues including mental health. With support she was able to build her confidence and become more integrated. She described Home-Start as - my lifeline, my family, they have made me who I am today. She is now a volunteer.


    Lack of funding. We receive no statutory support, and referrals for support are increasing annually.
    To mitigate this risk we've built up a loyal, wide base of local supporters (individuals and businesses). They continue to support us because they see the benefits of what we do both for families and the wider community. We have also increased our applications to Charitable Trusts and participation in the Big Give 2017 has been brilliant both for increasing our funding and raising our profile.


    We can provide statistical data taken from MESH, and can also provide qualitative reports and case studies to demonstrate success. We will work with donors to agree the frequency and format they would like reports to take.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £26,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £20,000 Family support at home 20 families receive weekly support in their home by a trained volunteer for c. 1 year
      £6,000 Family Group Running a weekly Family Group support and social group

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Henry Smith's Charity £3,000 Guaranteed
    Tesco Bags of Help £1,000 Guaranteed
    community fundraising; quizzes, music events, local company sponsorship £2,000 Conditional
  • Background


    We work in the southern parishes of East Hampshire, with our office in Petersfield. On the surface the area appears reasonably wealthy. However there are hidden pockets where significant numbers of children live in poverty.
    The area is very rural, and other factors causing difficulties for families referred to us are: poorly maintained social housing, and a lack of public transport leading to social exclusion and inability to access work and services.


    20 families c. 80 people where one or more members are experiencing mental health problems. Families have at least one child under five, but support is holistic dealing with the issues of children of all ages and the parents. Our clients are often but not always from deprived households, with multiple, complex problems such as poor mental and physical health, disability, history of abuse. The families we support are fragile with little or no other available support network.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Home-Start Butser has 20 years’ experience of supporting families struggling to cope. We are uniquely placed to provide trained local volunteers with the capacity to offer weekly visits for the time required, including helping get families to appointments. No other agency can bring our holistic mix of skills, and long-term commitment. We are respected by local Children Services, health professionals and schools who depend on us to assist families with the most complex and entrenched needs.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Scheme Manager, Nicola Winter

    12 years in post, manages the scheme and staff, is a trained counsellor: recruits, trains, matches and supervises volunteers, reviews families.


    People with parenting experience, extensive local knowledge, enhanced DBS, receive 11 week standard Home-Start training and mental health training.


    In post 5 years. Processes referrals, inputs statistical data, promotes the project, provides admin support for the coordinator and volunteers.