Family support charity in Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex celebrates 25 years

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A family support charity in Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex is celebrating 25 years of supporting families locally.

Home-Start CHAMS is one of more than 180 Home-Starts across the UK which supports families.Alyson Smith, business and fundraising manager, of Home-Start CHAMS, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating 25 years of Home-Start CHAMS and are truly humbled by our volunteers selfless giving and their ability to change the lives of so many families.“Research shows parents still feel a huge stigma around asking for help, with nearly half of all UK parents admitting they always or often feel ashamed of asking for support, especially when there are mental health concerns.“Parenting is a tough enough job as it is, but with the added anxiety and stresses of Covid lockdowns, financial pressures, health-related concerns and for some, bereavements, it has been a really difficult couple of years for families”.A volunteer said: "Working for Home-Start has been one of the most surprisingly rewarding experiences of my life. I volunteered in 2018, in complete trepidation. Having grown up in a family affected by domestic violence I believed that I was too damaged to be able to make a difference. Over the four weeks of training, I learnt such an immense amount about child development, learning to observe without judgement and how the small gift of time given to others can be life changing not only to the recipient but also to the giver”.A member of a supported family said: “If it wasn’t for my volunteer I would be in a much darker place right now and probably not even be able to get out of the door. She was just so kind, she never judged me or spoke down to me – she helped me believe that I am a good Mum.”

Home-Start CHAMS stands alongside families to offer compassionate, non-judgemental support on a wide range of issues including postnatal depression, bereavement, coping with twins, loneliness, coping with a child or parent with disabilities and a range of support with finances.

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