Extracts from the Annual Review Year ending 31st of March 2021
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During 2020/21 we faced the daunting challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our staff and volunteers stepped up during lockdown, working tirelessly to support families by providing vital weekly WhatsApp or telephone calls, emergency provisions, craft packs, and outdoor play equipment. Home-Start services always make a difference to the lives of our families, but during the pandemic they have truly been a lifeline for families with no other support.
The Board would like to thank staff and volunteers for their fantastic work which was above and beyond their normal roles.
Sadly, our administrator Sarah, left in December 2019. Gabriella Pearson joined us in April 2020, it is always a challenge starting a new job, but during lockdown was doubly difficult, thank you Gabriella for rising to the challenge and Hazel for supporting her. In March Lesley Lane joined us, thanks to funding from the Community Foundation Surrey, to develop our work with children from 5-11, and running parenting courses and workshops.
Due to the pandemic the trustees met virtually with Mary Coleman and Pam Whitely joining us as the volunteer representatives. Staff contact has been regular, by telephone and Zoom.
I am so proud that as we look back over a year of unprecedented challenges, we were able to adapt our service quickly and flexibly to continue to support local families. The commitment of our volunteers and staff has been inspirational. They have gone above and beyond to ensure that those in the greatest need in our community had someone to talk to and support to access other help. We not only supported all our existing families but also contacted over 30 other families who either previously had support or have been signposted to us, and when referrals re-opened we provided remote support to many first
time lockdown parents. Although the support looked very different and we were uncertain of the impact it would make we were determined to do everything we could to support families during the pandemic. The positive feedback from families and knowing that for many we were the only support mechanism continued to motivate us to keep going.
As well as overcoming the hurdles of the pandemic we have also had opportunities to develop and work with new partners. We particularly valued the support from Home-Start UK who sealed a corporate sponsorship with John Lewis/Waitrose Partnership This put the work of Home-Start on the national stage through their Christmas Advert and brought in much needed emergency funds for families during COVID. Our partnership with Surrey Care Trust continues and we have made positive inroads into Mole Valley and working closely with Home-Start East Surrey. This has been greatly enabled by a grant from St.
We were successful in sourcing funding from Surrey Community Foundation and Surrey Heartlands CCG to develop work with children over 5 years.
We continue to explore ways of supporting families, and over the next year will be developing new projects including Dad’s Matters and Parent Infant Mental Health support. The year has been a challenging one in more ways than one, but I believe we have come through this stronger and more determined to continue to support families. I would like to give a special thanks to the team who worked tirelessly over the last year and to the Volunteers who adapted so quickly to the new ways of supporting families.