Can you help a local support group?

A Home Link Family Support volunteer plays eyes, ears and nose with a young child.
A Home Link Family Support volunteer plays eyes, ears and nose with a young child.

We are a unique volunteering service that supports parents with young children and we are looking for new recruits in Midlothian – would you like to join us? writes Jane Ellis (Home Link Family Support).

Everyone knows that bringing up small children can be tough at times. Most parents rely on grandparents, friends or extended family to help out occasionally. But some parents don’t have anyone to support them or even anyone to chat to about the ups and downs of family life.

This is where our volunteers can step in to offer friendly help and support.

The fully-trained volunteers are carefully matched with one family and they visit them in the family’s home for two or three hours a week. Each family needs something different but volunteers can take the pressure off by playing and reading with children, and by talking things through with parents, encouraging them with gentle non-judgemental support.

Volunteers lend a hand with outings; some will help with an older child while mum concentrates on a new baby; others encourage families to feel more confident about playing and reading with their children. We’ll work with any family that has a child under five and is experiencing some difficulty, such as being new to the area, juggling children’s needs or feeling overwhelmed. Our aim is to give children a positive start in life by making their families more resilient and confident.

A Dalkeith mum said: “Thank you for sending me my volunteer. She is easy to talk to and is building my confidence – she understands my anxiety issues. This has helped me to trust again and get back my life. The support simply couldn’t have been any better.”

You don’t need to be a parent to volunteer. You just need to be over 18, positive and reliable. Our next volunteer training is in Dalkeith at the end of August. Visit our website for details – www.homelinkfamilysupport.org – or call 0131 661 0890.

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Email us at midlothianadvertiser@jnlothian.co.uk (subject Midlothian Matters)