Oil firm helps north east charity in drive to recruit and train volunteers

24 July 2019

Local charity, Home-Start Aberdeen has received a funding boost of over £8,000 from oil firm Apache North Sea. The donation is to help finance the cost of recruiting and training 20 new home-visiting volunteers.

Home-Start Aberdeen provides practical and emotional support to families with young children through the provision of trained, supportive volunteers who visit families, in their own homes on a weekly basis.

Volunteers support families who could be facing a number of challenges such as isolation, physical and/or mental health problems, bereavement and post-natal depression. The range of support can vary from modelling good parenting practice, help with caring for twins or multiple births, setting boundaries and routines, listening and encouraging, and help with accessing other support services.

“Thanks to the donation from Apache we will be able to fund the recruitment, induction, training and matching of a number of new volunteers with local families who currently need our support,” said Eleanor McEwan, general manager for Home-Start Aberdeen.

“There has been a changing landscape of available volunteers in Aberdeen over the last few years. We’ve seen a reduction in volunteering with more people returning to paid work, rather than being available to take on voluntary opportunities and positions. Furthermore we’ve recognised that the length of time someone volunteers with us is shortening. Historically, volunteers have remained with us for a number of years, whereas now they are more likely to volunteer for a shorter period of time, using the skills and increased confidence gained from the volunteering experience to move into paid employment.

“This is obviously a fantastic outcome in itself as we’re helping to upskill people in our local communities and workforce, so as well as providing direct support to families, we’re also providing an indirect benefit to our volunteers. At the same time it does mean that we continually require an ongoing pool of people interested, able and trained to volunteer with us.”

Home-Start Aberdeen provide a unique, comprehensive eight-week training and volunteer preparation course for potential volunteers. In addition to training, all volunteers are fully background checked before being carefully matched with individual families to best fit support needs.

The trained volunteers, backed by expert staff, then provide weekly home-visiting support to parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children.

“There’s a clear cost involved with such a considered and thorough approach to recruitment and training but it’s important for all parties to get this right,” added Eleanor. “Following Home-Start’s support, over 90% of parents see significant improvements in their own and their children’s emotional and physical health and wellbeing, whilst our volunteers often establish life changing and compassionate bonds with the children and families they support.”

Jillian Owen, commercial, communications and public affairs manager, commented, “Apache takes great pride in partnering with organisations that align with our values, are important to our people and will benefit the local community. Home-Start Aberdeen provides support and friendship to families, giving them the tools to move forward and manage their own unique situation. The recruitment and training of 20 new volunteers will help ensure these vital services continue to help families nurture their children in a stable and loving family environment.”

Home-Start Aberdeen has been supporting families in Aberdeen city since 1987. The charity started life as a small project based in the Mastrick area of the city and has since grown to become one of the largest Home-Start schemes in the UK working with families in many communities across Aberdeen. In the past year alone the charity has supported 205 families, including 340 children, with 27,500 hours of emotional and practical support in their own homes.

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities with Home-Start Aberdeen should contact its office on 01224 693545 or email volunteering@homestartaberdeen.org.uk

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