IT’S a charity that has been a lifeline for thousands of families across Portsmouth.
And after 22 years, Home-Start Portsmouth is now celebrating helping 5,000 children and their families in the city.
The group provides vital support to parents and families in desperate need.
Mother-of-two Diane Urquhart, of Portsmouth, is one of those who has seen the benefit of Home-Start’s support.
Fourteen years ago she was forced to deal with the loss of both her parents within two months and cope with the birth of her daughter Sophie.
‘This sent me into a spiral of depression,’ said Diane, 51, a senior sister at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. I became suicidal very quickly.
‘I completely shut down – I couldn’t cope with it all.’
Diane was diagnosed with a severe form of post-natal depression, which not only left her feeling isolated but also put a strain on her marriage.
Speaking at a presentation afternoon in The Royal Maritime Club in Queen Street, Portsea, she said: ‘Home-Start saved my life and made my marriage.
‘It made my kids the great kids that they are today,’
After a long period of recovery, Diane became a volunteer with the charity to help other families across the city.
She is one of 750 people who have helped Home-Start during its history, with 116 volunteers currently on the group’s books.
During the ceremony at the maritime club volunteers, as well as those who had been supported Home-Start, stood up to tell their stories.
There was a chance for the 70 guests to hear about the organisation’s upcoming fundraising events.
Louise Boyle is the business manager of Home-Start.
She said: ‘It is really wonderful for us to have something to celebrate in the realm of services where there is so much doom and gloom with all the cutbacks.
‘We’re incredibly proud of all our achievements.’
For more details on Home-Start, see hsportsmouth.org.uk or call (023) 9273 4400.