Robert Walter MP (North Dorset) visited members of the Home-Start North DorsetRobert Walter MP (North Dorset) visited members of the Home-Start North Dorset team at The Exchange, in Sturminster Newton, to see how the charity is helping to support local families.

At the invitation of trustee Claire Macdonald, Bob met with Home-Start North Dorset Chairman Jenny Kretz, Scheme Organiser Jamie Keast and Administrator Ruth Berry. Bob also had the opportunity to talk to one of Home-Start’s volunteers, Paul Pateman, who explained more about his role with the charity and his specific work supporting a family of three children who have recently lost their mother to cancer.

Home-Start North Dorset is a local branch of a much wider national Home-Start UK network that has 334 affiliated branches delivering one-to-one support, friendship and practical help to young families across the UK.

The North Dorset branch opened in 2011 and currently manages 32 home visiting volunteers, with 68 families requesting its support. Families can range from those who have suffered bereavement to those affected by domestic violence or managing physical or mental disabilities.

The charity has received great support from local organisations and the community. However, Home-Start North Dorset only has enough funding for another 10 months and is, therefore, seeking lottery funding to support the continuation of its vital core work.

Bob commented, “It was great to meet the Home-Start team and find out more about the work they do in North Dorset. I was very impressed by both the breadth of issues these volunteers help to tackle and the level of commitment to the local families they each support.

“Already at capacity, the team is helping a large number of people whose difficulties in life are often compounded by rural isolation. A successful Big Lottery bid would allow the organisation to continue its core work and I will be doing whatever I can to assist them.”

PHOTO courtesy of Home-Start North Dorset: Home visiting volunteer, Paul Pateman, Bob Walter MP and Scheme Organiser Jamie Keast

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