Wakefield Express Column

Being a parent is the best job in the world – most of the time. Every parent knows it can feel like the toughest job too – those evenings when the kids are refusing to go to bed, chasing each other round the house, full of energy long after the adults have collapsed on the sofa.

For most families, it will just be the odd evening. But for some parents – maybe struggling with depression, coping with disability or the breakdown of a relationship – it can sometimes feel too much to cope with.

It doesn’t make them a bad parent. It means they need someone to talk to, and maybe some practical support to prevent a problem turning into a major crisis.

Last week I visited Jenny Brown and the team at Home-Start Wakefield in their Elm Tree Street office. They are experts at recognising and dealing with these problems. The team match more than 100 trained volunteers across our area with families who need a little extra support. The volunteers give their time to provide advice, practical support and friendship at a difficult time.

The government are asking voluntary providers to do more and more of the work that local Councils have provided in the past, like this sort of social care, but also in education and health. They have a mantra, called the ‘Big Society’ that state provided services are bad, and private and voluntary organisations are good.

They are missing the point. Without the funding from Wakefield Council and the local NHS that allows Home-Start to advertise to families and volunteers and to give good quality training, they simply could not make the difference they do.

The reality of the £27 million government cut Wakefield Council faces this year means the Council have some incredibly tough decisions to make when they meet next week.

But up and down the country, voluntary organisations hit by government cuts are closing, or facing uncertain futures, and it is fragile families who are losing out.

Because Home-Start services are provided by volunteers and targeted at early support, the work they do is great value for money. This is exactly the sort ofthing we should be doing more of, not less.

Home-Start are not only helping save money in the long term, by preventing aproblem becoming a crisis. They are doing a much more important job too. Jenny and her brilliant volunteers help families rediscover the best job in the world.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • email
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Reddit
  • RSS
  • Twitter
Posted February 10th, 2011 by Ed's team