A lifeline Angus support organisation is seeking to bolster its organisational team as the group looks forward to meeting more families face-to-face.
For more than a quarter of a century, Home-Start Angus has delivered practical and emotional help to young families across the district.
Its vital work has continued throughout the pandemic.
And as families prepare for regular meetings with the easing of lockdown restrictions, the group hopes to recruit new trustees to help with the smooth running of the organisation.
Home-Start manager Audrey Thomson said: “Our belief is that a parent who feels valued and supported will help to ensure that life is as good as it can be for the children within the family.
“We recruit and train volunteers from the local community who receive valuable induction training and are all PVG registered before being ‘matched’ with a local family.”
The organisation is currently supporting around 90 families across the whole of Angus.
“The last year has been even tougher for many of our families.
Home-Start Angus manager Audrey Thomson
A volunteer normally visits the family at home each week to offer emotional and/or practical help where needed.
Audrey added: “The last year has been even tougher for many of our families.
“For us it has been an exceptionally steep learning curve.
“Our small staff team has worked hard to ensure they still all feel supported – albeit that has had to be by means of phone, text or video call rather than our usual home-visits.
“Our focus now is to get back to meeting up with families face-to-face outdoors as part of a blended service.”
Audrey continued: “We are run and managed by a small board of trustees who are also volunteers.
“Right now, we would benefit from increasing our trustee numbers and skill set.
“We would love to hear from anyone who is passionate about the lives of young children and who has skills or experience in funding applications, charity finance, social media or HR.
“We are looking for people who feel they could give 10 hours of their time each month to support our work.”
Anyone interested in joining the board of trustees should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents have said the Home-Start support has been vital to them during the pandemic.
At Brechin’s Crickety, outdoor meetings in small numbers are set to resume with family group co-ordinator Shona Arbuckle.
Local mum Kathleen Ross is looking forward to introducing her nine-month-old daughter, Dakota, to other children.
“Dakota was born in lockdown so we really haven’t been able to mix with other families,” said Kathleen.
She was a regular at weekly meetings with her son, Calvin, now 2.
“Shona would ring up every week and when the weather was good we would meet up for walks.
“It was just great to have adult company and someone else to talk to.
“I really don’t think people realise how valuable the service is and how much the volunteers are appreciated by families,” she said.
Rashelle Baird, mum to 18-month-old Maddison, said: “I struggled really badly during lockdown with my mental health but Shona was always there.
“She also does so much outwith the group – if she senses like I am not myself she will be there.
“The Home-Start support has been both emotional and financial and has made such a difference during the past year.
“It’s been hard for me and if I didn’t have that support it would have been a totally different situation,” she said.