Bridging the funding gap

Bridging the funding gap

Families suffering from poverty and disadvantage turn to services for a safety net. But what happens when those services lose funding and are no longer available to offer help and support?
Volunteer visiting mother and child at home

This was a looming crisis in 2015 for Home-Start Cambridgeshire, faced with the end of their grant funding from Cambridgeshire County Council following deep cuts in the county budgets.

“The possibility of closure was very real at that time, but we were determined not to fail those families that rely on our support, so we applied to the Evelyn Trust and were very lucky to be awarded a significant grant over two years. This has enabled us this year to support 50 families around the county where parents are suffering from mental health problems,” explains Jan Attwood, Senior Co-ordinator for Home-Start.

For many years Home-Start Cambridgeshire has been offering support in the home from trained volunteers to families who are struggling with post-natal depression, anxiety, or other challenging conditions. Typically a volunteer will help parents to improve their mental and physical health, or their children’s health, plus advise them on managing behaviour, encouraging learning, coping with stress, etc.

“Our volunteers provide tailored support to families with children under age 5 where problems with mental health have resulted in isolation and low self-esteem. There are often related problems around debt and unemployment, so our volunteers provide signposting to services and encourage people to seek the help they need,” adds Jan.

Referrals come from a range of local services and with social care coming under pressure from increasing demand, Home-Start is now often providing an essential service to families who are struggling to get the support they need from other hard-pressed agencies.

The first six months of the project have evaluated very well and currently 27 families are receiving support from the Evelyn Trust grant funding. 

“It’s so rewarding to see how much families benefit from the emotional support and encouragement offered by our caring volunteers. We see many parents recognising and tackling their problems for the first time, turning their lives around and this has an enormous impact on the health and well being of the whole family.”


Subscribe to our mailing list

View previous newsletters