Home-Start Caithness

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Mon, 2009-11-23

Home-Start is a voluntary organisation which offers regular support, friendship and practical help to young families under stress in their own home, helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.

Home-Start is available for any family with at least one child under 5 years of age. Homestart runs a Twins Group in Wick. Another organisation runs a Twins Group in Thurso.


Volunteers all have parenting skills and understand the stresses and strains involved in bringing up a young family. They are understanding, caring and reliable and make a commitment to visiting one or two families in their homes regularly.


Families may only be referred to Home-Start with their own consent. The main reference are Health Visitors and Social Workers, but self-referrals and referrals from any other source are welcomed and are dealt with in strictest confidence.

Other services

As part of the services of Home-Start Caithness are a Twins Club and a Family Centre.

The Twins Club meet once per month and offers interactive support amongst the mothers and fathers allowing the children to mix and play with other twins and siblings.

The Family Centre meet twice per month and offers support to vulnerable families with young children and encourage them to provide a healthy, safe and stimulating home.

What about funding?

HOME-START support is very cost effective. Each scheme works through volunteers visiting families in their own homes, rather than professional staff working in or from an expensive centre. Nevertheless, it is essential that adequate funding is available to establish and maintain a scheme, to provide continuity both for the families and for the volunteers.

Most schemes receive a grant, sometimes through a service agreement from their Local Authority Social Services Department. Others have joint funding between Social services and Health or funding may come from triple sources, such as Social Services, Health and Education. Most schemes fund-raise for special social events for HOME-START families and volunteers.

Core funding is needed to cover:

  • the organiser’s salary, national insurance and superannuation.
  • secretarial assistance.
  • Rent, telephone, insurance, postage and stationery.
  • Courses of preparation.
  • Volunteers’ out of pocket expenses.
  • Project equipment and publicity.

Further Information

For further information please contact:

Alasdair MacRae Consultant Home-Start UK 49 Scott street Perth PH1 8JN

Tel: 01738 444020

In Caithness contact

Nomi Watson Co-ordinator Community Education Office

Tel: 01955 606222

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