Mia* lived alone with her Mum, who had learning difficulties that made day-to-day life more of a challenge. Her Mum was isolated and lacked confidence, so hardly ever felt able to take Mia out to meet and play with other children. In fact, she found it hard to see the importance of making an effort to get involved with services that would help in Mia’s development. And she wasn’t always dealing with other issues that came up either, which was getting them into debt.
Mia’s Dad wasn’t around much and his relationship with her Mum could be unpredictable, creating stress and conflict at home. There was a history of Domestic Violence in previous relationships, which raised concerns about Mia’s safety.
When Mia’s Mum became pregnant again, she was just not sure how she would ever cope with 2 children, on top of everything else. Which is when the Health Visitor referred them to Home-Start for support.
Within 2 months of the referral, a trained Home-Start volunteer began regular weekly visits to Mia’s house. Her Mum was given immediate practical help with budgeting, paperwork and phone calls that were needed to sort their finances and manage the home. Alongside this the volunteer gave emotional support too over the 7 months she visited, allowing Mia’s Mum to gain in confidence, take more control of their lives and start to allow other services to get involved to help them.
By the time Mia’s baby sister was born, things at home were already quite different and Mum soon started going to baby groups.
Things really changed for Mia too. She started going to a local ‘play and learn’ group, giving her the chance to mix with other children. And she regularly went to nursery, making friends with other children and positive relationships with adults, which all helped her to meet her development milestones.
Overall, life significantly improved for Mia and her family. Home life was calmer, with routines in place and improved relationships. Both Mia’s parents were more attuned to the needs of their 2 children, trying to meet their emotional as well as physical needs.
As Mia’s fourth birthday approached, the volunteer visits came to an end. She and her Mum were able to join Home-Start’s ‘Big Hopes Big Future’ group, where they received further support, especially for young children like Mia, who about to start school.
Before Home-Start it was hard and stressful. I had letters I couldn’t read I was ignoring it and getting into trouble with money. I was about to have my baby and I was worried about coping. Home Start helped me a lot, it’s easier now. I can do things by myself and I feel happier. My volunteer has been there to talk to, like a friend. – Mia’s Mum
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* Names have been changed and photo posed by model.