Financial help is needed at vital Havant charity

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THE community has been asked to support a ‘magical’ charity that turns round the lives of families in crisis.

Home-Start Havant supports families with children under the age of five where the parents are feeling pressure and need extra support.

Volunteers spend on average two hours a week with the families giving practical help, such as accompanying mums to hospital appointments, entertaining children while parents shop, or looking after twins while mums spend time with older children.

It is sometimes an important intervention before families are referred to social services.

But it is facing a funding crisis and, to stop a dramatic cutback on the support offered, donations are urgently needed.

Sarah Willetts, wife of Havant MP David Willetts, has been a patron of the charity since 1998.

She said: ‘The truly magical thing about Home-Start is the mums who have been helped are the first to volunteer to help others. They are examples of how families come on leaps and bounds with the help of this amazing charity. I would say to people, you will have no greater effect on the lives of tiny children and their parents than by making a donation to Home-Start.’

It costs around £90,000 a year to run the charity and an application has been submitted to the Big Lottery Fund for a grant which will keep it going for the next five years.

Without this, services will start being cut back in April.

The charity is based at Mill Hill Children’s Centre, in Mill Road, Waterlooville.

Nikki Wells, 34, from Waterlooville, was put in touch when she went through a tough time seven years ago.

The mum of three said: ‘I was finding life a bit difficult. I was pregnant with Emily at the time and my mum was quite poorly. Two weeks before Emily was born my mum died. That was quite hard.’

Nikki attended the children’s groups and a volunteer visited each week. They would take the children to the park together, go shopping, or the volunteer would simply hold the baby to give Nikki the chance of spending time with her other children.

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