Home-Start’s future looking much brighter

Jubilation for the Home-Start Havant team after huge Lottery grant. ''L-R Staff members Catherine Hoskins, Maggie Eveleigh and Wendy Masters with Catherine's children Alina and Leo.
Jubilation for the Home-Start Havant team after huge Lottery grant. ''L-R Staff members Catherine Hoskins, Maggie Eveleigh and Wendy Masters with Catherine's children Alina and Leo.
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THE future of a vital charity that supports struggling families is more secure following a grant from the National Lottery.

Due to a reduction in local authority grants the future looked so bleak for Home-Start Havant that at one point there were fears it would close.

Now it has been bolstered with a £181,000 grant divided over the next five years.

But the charity, which helps families with children under five, still needs to raise between £20,000 and £30,000 a year.

Manager Maggie Eveleigh said: ‘The day the lottery rang to say we had been successful was so wonderful. I felt like crying.

‘It was Christmas but we were not allowed to announce it until now and the money will start coming in in April.

‘It means that we can continue to support local families having a difficult time over the next five years.

‘And it means that I can do my job and not constantly be looking for money.

‘Although we still need to raise £20,000 to £30,000 a year, I feel this is manageable.

‘We have a lot of support locally and I hope this will continue.’

The charity provides volunteers to families to give one on one support two hours a week.

Last year Maggie had to make several staff redundant and stop taking on new clients. She said: ‘That was very difficult because families were still getting referred to us by children’s services, social workers, health visitors and schools.

‘We’d read their cases and desperately want to help them but have to say no.

‘We’ve started picking up referrals again now but the number has dropped from between 60 to 70 families a year to 40. We are currently supporting 103 children.

‘To continue we need as much help and support from the community as possible.’

Amelia Wardle, a mum of five who is supported by Home-Start is doing a sky-dive to raise money for the charity.

To support Amelia or make a donation to the charity go to homestart-havant.org.uk.