Praise for Home Start by overwhelmed mum

A mum of two, who felt overwhelmed reading about ‘perfect parents’ online, has praised Home-Start Craigavon who helped when she reached for help.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 1:12 pm

Ildi McGeown said her family life changed dramatically three years ago when they left friends and successful careers to return to Craigavon.

She said: “We wanted to return home and be nearer to Gary’s father who was ill at the time. Within weeks of being back, his dad passed away. The impact of losing someone so close was difficult for our family but within a few weeks our first son, Vincent was born and within a year and a half we were blessed with the birth of our second son, James.

“Living in a beautiful farm, located on the shores of Lough Neagh, with two children under the age of 3 seems amazing, and it is, but with no family and friends close by and living in a remote area, I felt lonely, scared and stressed. Life was difficult but I kept going because I wanted to be a good mum, but it all came crashing down when I hurt my back one day and collapsed and couldn’t call for help.”

“The stress of everything that had happened impacted on my health so much. Of course, it didn’t help that as I reached out online to find information, all I came across was images and stories of people with perfect lives doing everything correctly. This didn’t provide me with the support or confidence I needed, and I felt it wasn’t accurate and it just added to the stress already present in my life.”

“Fortunately, my previous job as a personal trainer, coaching athletes such as the Irish Olympic Handball team, gave me the skills to know what to do when faced with a challenge and I realised that I needed help. I reached out to Home-Start in June 2018 and since then I’ve never looked back. Home-Start Craigavon’s local volunteer, Reda has been a lifeline to me and my family. She gave me the support and advice I needed on the big and small decisions but most of all she gave me friendship and hope.”

From working with so many local families, Home-Start UK in NI’s service of providing compassionate, confidential help and expert support, on a weekly basis, give parents a much-needed break. A recent report showed 96% of families helped by Home-Start said they felt less isolated, 94% reporting improved self-esteem, 94% reporting improved children’s development.

For more information visit or to volunteer to support a local family at Home-Start Craigavon by calling Deborah on 38 345 357.