26 Jun 2009

Happy 10th Anniversary Home Start

Last night was Full Council so I missed the first meeting of our allotment group in Whitsehill (still haven't got allotments yet but looking evermore hopeful) - anyhow Full Council wasn't the most riveting last night - I'll come to Home Start in a moment - the Council meeting was lots on budgets, Green party questions on where we were with tackling SDC's emissions - you'll be able to watch it all on webcast - there was also some stuff on researching whether Dursley should be a no drink zone in public places...

..... I voted against that - I am unhappy about the creep of yet more laws - I respect the request of Dursley Parish to seek this but it is a vast zone they want and there was absolutely no evidence about why it was needed - no figures from police - and also no consideration of what alternatives have been considered - drinking in public is complex - underage drinking needs tackling - we need more checks on off-licences, a campaign to stop adults buying children drink, more vocal campaigns against the drink companies that sell these vodka drinks, work with neighbourhood wardens etc etc - and why just Dursley? The paper presented was poor and was sadly passed committing the Council to money and time to research this - I hope that happens properly and that the children and drinkers are consulted, taxi drivers and more - several of the councillors there said they did not perceive it as a problem as serious as described by the paper and said why aren't existing anti-social behavior laws being used? Indeed why?

But I'm getting side-tracked I wanted to use this quick blog to celebrate the wonders of Home Start (Stroud and Dursley) - see more on their national website here - they celebrate locally their tenth anniversary and had some sandwiches and cake just before the Council meeting - as I had another meeting at that time there was only the chance to join the beginning and end of the celebration....and good to meet one of the volunteers who lives in Randwick.

Home-Start is a voluntary organisation offering support, friendship and practical help to families at home. They also run groups and hold social events - indeed they apparently just had a celebration with all the volunteers and families. Typical areas where help can be offered are to lonely or isolated parents, families with multiple births, mums who may have postnatal depression, single parents or families where there is ill health or disability. The service is free and confidential and is provided by trained volunteer helpers - indeed they are looking for more volunteers.

I applaud this service - so often in this crazy world life is all too hard for some - those early years are particularly important for a child's life and parents have a key role in creating a secure childhood - sometimes they need a bit of help - a volunteer going in say once a week for a couple of hours can be invaluable - talking support, maybe practical help like reading to the children or cooking a meal, going to the local park or help finding out about services....anyhow three cheers for those volunteers and the service. Congrats on 10 years.

Contact details for more info: Home Start, Willow House, Slad Road, STROUD, GL5 1QJ Tel: 01453 759911


Philip Booth said...

Here is what I sent to the Cabinet member:

Just a note – I just wanted to note that I fully agree with councilors who are seeking a full consultation – and note that you agree – certainly youths need to be interviewed and poss Taxi drivers. However for me I have a real concern about adding any extra laws. I would welcome a clear discussion in the next papers presented about what measures have already been tried. Have extra checks been made on local off-licences and supermarkets? Why are the current anti-social behaviour and other laws not sufficient? Has there been a campaign re adults buying drink for youths? Are there sufficient activities for young people in the evening? Etc. Many thanks – all the best - Philip

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