Home-Start Fareham and Gosport is on the hunt for help as charity expands

From left, Gemma Maidment, Kerry Hookway, Christine Roach, Amanda Goddard, Clare Storey, Carol Dyer, Jenny Paterson, Debbie Freemantle and Louise Wheeldon, staff and volunteers at Home-Start Fareham and Gosport''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151551-477)
From left, Gemma Maidment, Kerry Hookway, Christine Roach, Amanda Goddard, Clare Storey, Carol Dyer, Jenny Paterson, Debbie Freemantle and Louise Wheeldon, staff and volunteers at Home-Start Fareham and Gosport''Picture: Allan Hutchings (151551-477)

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  • Positive future ahead as charity looks to grow
  • Service which helps vulnerable families nearly had to close earlier this year after its funding was cut
  • Joy as grant from National Lottery has saved group
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AFTER fears it would close, a charity which helps vulnerable families is now looking to double the number of volunteers it has.

Thanks to £305,000 from the National Lottery, Home-Start Fareham and Gosport can expand its projects and take on 40 more volunteers.

We are hoping to help more families and the grant allow us to do that.

Louise Wheeldon, senior co-ordinator

The charity will be using the grant to help more parents with mental health issues.

To do this, Home-Start is calling for people who might want to help to get in touch and become a volunteer.

Senior co-ordinator Louise Wheeldon said: ‘When we knew how much money we were getting and what we could use it for, we were in a bit of a shock. A lot of us were stunned.

‘When we were in financial trouble, we had to really scale back and people were made redundant which was a hard thing for us to do.

‘But with the £305,000 we are looking to scale back up and be on the same level we were a few years ago.’

Home-Start Fareham and Gosport, in Salterns Lane, Fareham, helps parents with young children get through issues such as isolation, mental health problems or domestic abuse.

With 80 per cent of their parents having mental health difficulties, Louise thought it was a good project to expand.

‘We are hoping to help more families and the grant allows us to do that,’ she added.

‘But we need new volunteers and we are looking to double the staff we have at the moment.

‘We’ve always been honest with the families we help about the troubles we were facing. It’s now peace of mind for them that they can continue to get our help.

‘It also means referrals can be made to more people and there won’t be a delay being referred and getting our help like there was in the past.’

As reported, Home-Start Fareham and Gosport had its £40,000 in funding cut from Hampshire County Council which was a third of its annual income.

Without the money, it had to find alternative funding and it was a race against time.

But last month, it was given a grant from National Lottery.

It is now looking for volunteers and trustees. For more information visit homestartgosportandfareham.org.uk