Across the UK thousands of Home-Start volunteers visit families at home each week, supporting parents in situations as diverse as isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness, disability or who are just finding parenting a struggle.
Not in Hertfordshire it would seem. The Tory County Council voted to cut all nine Home Start schemes in the County. This comes on the back of the huge cuts to local services being imposed by the Government since the election in May.
Home Start is a volunteer based charity celebrating community involvement and is therefore very economical. The volunteers visit vulnerable families at a time when needed and often prevent problems escalating and needing the intervention of statutory services. More importantly preventing damage and sometimes trauma to our children.
At a time when families are under increasing pressure trying to make ends meet, with 19% of children in Hemel Hempstead deemed to be living in poverty, cutting grants to agencies like Home Start demonstrates not only a lack of care but warped priorities.
According to Hertfordshire County Council children’s centres, facing cuts themselves, and our over-stretched health visitors are expected to pick up the pieces and plug the gaps.