Family charity record success

MORE struggling families than ever in North Somerset were helped by a charity to cope with their young children in the last year.

Home Start, which recruited and sent 19 volunteers into people’s homes for a couple of hours a week, supported 56 families with 126 children under five, during its seventh year of existence, an annual meeting at Clevedon Town Council offices heard.

Council chairman Cllr Terry Porter presented certificates to volunteers who had clocked up 18 years of service between them, telling them they had provided a ‘tremendous’ amount of help to many families.

He said: “I don’t think people realise how important volunteers are when two families are not the same and you are taking on those who have a variety of different problems.

“It must be such a challenge to get people to come forward and give up their time for no pay, especially when all we see is funding cuts at the moment.”

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A mum who has set up a successful support group for parents of twins, told the meeting how she was helped by the charity when she was struggling with her twin girls.

Marita Bonilla-Farias, of Weston, said: “I couldn’t afford childcare and had no family or friends around so I was faced with isolation.

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“Logistically it was difficult to get out of the house, my self-esteem was very low and I was badly sleep-deprived.”

Marita’s health visitor referred her to Home Start and her saviour, in the form of volunteer Marian, visited her for nine months, enabling her to take the children swimming for the first time and listening to her problems.

She added: “Home Start brought me out of a very dark place.”

The organisation is funded by grants and donations and received an award by the Big Lottery fund earlier this year.

The next training course for volunteers, who must be parents themselves, starts in September and anyone who can donate their time and experience is asked to call Home Start on 01934 419396 or email

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