Published on GetWestLondon, 03 December 2014
Charity appeals for more volunteers to help struggling families, as MP Mary Macleod presents awards to existing stalwarts.
A charity supporting families in crisis has recognised three volunteers who have between them racked up 30 years of service in Hounslow.
Home-Start Hounslow helps families with young children deal with whatever life throws at them, from multiple births to a diagnosis of terminal illness. Volunteers visit the family's home for a few hours a week to provide practical and emotional support, like looking after children while their parents attend hospital appointments.
They continue to help until the youngest child turns five or the family are able to cope by themselves, to ensure the children get the best possible upbringing.
Sonia Tandon, Gunnar Gaibi and Lyn Christou have each volunteered for the charity for 10 years, supporting 27 families during that time.
Brentford & Isleworth MP Mary Macleod visited Home-Start Hounslow's base at the Ermine Centre, in Hounslow West, last Friday (November 28) to present the trio with long service awards. She also congratulated the charity on receiving its Investing in Volunteers award.
Lyn Christou, of Isleworth, said: "I've found volunteering hugely rewarding because you get to see the family develop as you help them deal with the situation.
"We don't get involved with issues like drug abuse or domestic violence because we're not social workers, but each family we help has different needs. "Many of the issues we help with are things which could affect any family. As a grandmother it's comforting to know that support would be there if my children needed it."
Ms Christou added that benefit cuts meant there was an increasing demand from families struggling with housing issues, including those living in cramped bed and breakfast accommodation.
Home-Start Hounslow manager Margaret O’Connor said:
"Home-Start couldn't run without the dedication of all of our volunteers who donate precious time to help local families with young children. "They have made a huge difference to families by giving friendship and support in their homes, when and where it matters."
Home-Start Hounslow is desperate for more volunteers to ensure it can meet the demand for its services. Its next volunteer training course will run every Wednesday and Friday during school hours from January 16 to February 13 at the Ermine Centre, in Ermine Close.