Across Exeter, East & Mid Devon Home-Start volunteers visit families in their homes each week, with services extending as far as Axminster and Crediton, including Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton. They are supporting parents in situations as diverse as isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness, disability or who are just finding parenting a struggle. They provide non-judgemental practical and emotional support and help build the family’s confidence and ability to cope.
All kinds of families can find it hard to cope for all sorts of reasons, maybe because of the illness or disability of a child or because of post-natal illness, bereavement or loneliness. At Home-Start Exeter, East & Mid Devon they support any parent with at least one child under five who asks for help. They also run Mothers in Mind groups for women in the perinatal period who are struggling with their mental health. Isolation has always been a major factor but with the current problems of lockdown thanks to Covid19 the pressure on their services has been even greater.
The work of the staff and volunteers in Home-start came to the attention of Devonshire freemasons who have provided a grant of £10,000 through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) to enable Home-Start to increase their training capacity for volunteers, to be able to meet the extra demand.
Craig Cox, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Devonshire Freemasons recently visited their headquarters in Exeter to present them with a certificate and find out more about their work, when meeting Jo Darke the Funding & Development Manager, Craig commented that the work undertaken by the team of staff and Volunteers is so important, not only to the parents of today but even more importantly for the children who are the parents and adults of the future which must be protected at all costs.
On receiving the certificate Jo Darke said
"We have been working hard to stabilise our service in these unprecedented times and we are very grateful to the Devon Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) who have recognised the value of our service to families and children and have supported us to meet the ever-growing need. At the same time as demand for our service increases, we face financial restrictions – emergency funds dry up and we face restrictions on our ability to fundraise. So, this grant is vital to us and to the very vulnerable families we support. Thank you."
The grant from Devonshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
In response to the extraordinary need created by the coronavirus pandemic, Freemasonry is providing special funding of £2.75 million for projects helping those who are particularly affected by the virus. This extra money comes on top of the estimated £45 million given to charity every year by Freemasons