Inspirational mum, who sought help when her family was struggling, now volunteers with Home-Start
Inspired by the impact Home-Start had on her family, a Craigavon mum has now become a volunteer helping other families through tough times.
Mum Reda Matuseviciene says ‘you can’t put a price on how volunteering brings more happiness and hope to a home’
Reda was speaking as Home-Start Craigavon. launches its ‘Give the gift of time’ volunteer appeal which aims to inform and inspire local people to volunteer an hour a week to support local families through this unprecedented crisis.
Reda has first hand knowledge of how a few hours a week can transform the lives of those in a young family.
Her story began eight years ago when she gave birth to her second daughter, prematurely at 24 weeks.
At the time, Reda, and her husband Arunas struggled to cope with looking after a very ill little baby and a three-year-old big sister, who also needed some support.
The family were referred to Home-Start and, for nine months, Reda found the Home-Start volunteer was a real lifesaver, providing Reda with much needed support.
Speaking about how her Home-Start volunteer made a difference, Reda said: “It was a lifeline and the fact that someone came into your home and gave up their free time to spend time with you made you feel special.
“You can’t put a price on how much that helps build your confidence as well as bringing more happiness and laughter to your home.”
Reda’s Home-Start volunteer was more than a lifeline at a time of challenge and thanks to the kind, compassionate and respectful approach of the volunteer, Reda was able to overcome any challenges and build up her confidence.
Inspired by the impact of her Home-Start volunteer, three years ago Reda decided to give the special gift of time to another family in need of support and friendship during a difficult time.
Reda registered as a volunteer and after the highest quality of training and support from Home-Start Craigavon, Reda was matched with her first family and from then never looked back.
Speaking about the impact of volunteering, Reda said: “As a volunteer, I get the chance to help a mum or dad with key tasks so they can get a chance to do the simple things that most of us take for granted. For example, by being there for a few hours, I can give a mum a chance to take a shower and relax, all the time knowing that someone is able to keep an eye on her most precious children.
“As a volunteer, the greatest reward for me is the feeling I get when someone opens the door and says thank you for being here. Their words show how relieved they are to see you and how valuable your support is. No money can buy that feeling.”
Deborah Millar, Home-Start Craigavon Co-ordinator said: “We need volunteers like Reda to help support local families especially through these challenging times when many families feel pushed to the point of breaking.
“Our volunteers currently provide emotional and practical support to over 30 families in the local area that are struggling to cope.
“It’s through volunteers like Reda, that parents don’t just survive, they get a chance to thrive; so that our communities can build back better.”
Home-Start volunteers provide emotional and practical support to families struggling to cope and who may be facing issues like isolation, financial worries, bereavement, or mental and physical health challenges.
Deborah continued: “If you can spare an hour a week to support a family in your local community when they need it, then please get in touch today.
“Full and thorough training and support will be provided.
“The work of Home-Start volunteers has never been more urgent and important. We need volunteers now more than ever.”
To register your interest and to find out about various volunteer roles on offer in your area visit: www.home-start.org.uk/registertovolunteer or call 028 3834 5357 and give the #giftoftime this Christmas and beyond.
Home-Start UK in NI is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. It is there for parents when they need it the most because childhood can’t wait.
Supported by local volunteers, their services are based in communities right across NI.
A spokesperson said: “Starting in the home, our approach is as individual as the people we’re helping. No judgement, it is just compassionate, confidential help and expert support. Last year Home-Start NI supported over 1,200 families and 2,800 children.”
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