Home-start Essex awarded £35,000 grant

AN ESSEX charity that provides home based parenting support to disadvantaged and vulnerable families has been awarded a £35,000 grant.

Home-Start Essex were awarded the grant by the Healthwatch Essex Fund, and over the next three years the grant will help the charity launch a nationwide programme to assess the current advice and guidance available to parents affected by antenatal mental health issues.

The charity assists families with at least one child under 5 years old. Home-Start Essex also support families struggling with physical health problems, bereavement, isolation and many other issues. This support is delivered through volunteer home-visiting, peer group support, targeted programmes and counselling.

Amie Craven, Development Manager at Home-Start Essex said: “We have seen an increasing demand for our services and are delighted to receive this support from the Healthwatch Essex Fund. Caring for children, particularly if you are a new mum, is not always easy. Home-Start volunteers, who are mostly parents themselves, understand that need and are available to offer help.”

She added:”Empowering parents who have accessed peri/postnatal services themselves, is vital to assessing how they can be improved. No-one should feel that they are alone and appropriate information, advice and guidance needs to be accessible, meaningful and useful.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit www.home-startessex.org.uk to apply.

The work of Home-Start Essex compliments the Healthwatch Essex Information service, which is available to anyone who needs to access health and care services in Essex.

Their research and engagement activities allow them to make evidence based recommendations to the NHS and social care authorities to improve how services are designed and delivered.

David Sollis, Chief Executive at Healthwatch said: “Through this funding our aim is to reach every parent in the county affected by peri/postnatal mental health, so they can share their experiences of accessing local health and care to ultimately help shape future support services. We are proud to be supporting this critical piece of work.”

They also provide an information service to help people access, understand and navigate the health and social care system.

People can contact the Information Service on 0300 500 1895 or at [email protected]

You can also leave a review of local health or care services in the Feedback Centre at https://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/services

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Adam Spartley

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