Yesterday, I had the pleasure of joining over 100 supporters, volunteers and members of the Home-Start Hertfordshire team at St Michael’s Manor Hotel in St Albans for their launch event.
This charity is a crucial provider of practical and emotional support to families with babies and young children who are facing difficult times. Trained volunteers visit the families for a few hours each week to play with the children, offer guidance and a chance for the parents to have the company of another adult.
A Charity at Capacity
As a corporate partner and member of their new corporate fundraising committee, I know how important finding additional sources of revenue is to the charity which last year faced a devastating cut in their grant from Hertfordshire County Council. Home-Start needs further funding so that more volunteers may be trained to support more needy families.
Home-Start plans to extend their services by providing children with the vital skills they need to smooth the transition from nursery to primary school and from primary to secondary school – this is known as Big Hopes, Big Futures. Funds will be raised by running Big Hopes, Big Futures training programmes to the education sector.
The keynote speaker, Nicola Marshall of Brave Heart Education, gave a fascinating talk on ‘Growing up in a Topsy, turvy Household’ – a personal and professional insight into the impact of impaired attachment on a child’s early development. For me this blew out of the water the widely held view that children are naturally resilient and “bounce back”. Our young children need so much more than we realise to become well-rounded adults. A truly moving speech.
On a more light-hearted note, Suzy Moody, Home-Start Hertfordshire’s Strategic Manager, showed the video produced by Sue Wybrow of St Albans Businesses which has been viewed over 10,000 times on YouTube which has raised over £1,000 to date and has helped to spread the word to a wider audience.
Thanks also goes to Ian Cumming of Ian Scott Photography for taking photos all afternoon. We look forward to seeing them in a few days time. And also thank you to my fellow women’s group members, Linda Shall and Janet Audley-Charles of Soroptimist International St Albans and District for attending.
An impassioned speech by Lara Norris, CEO of Home-Start Hertfordshire and eloquent words from renowned author and patron, Ken Follett made for an extremely uplifting event.