Author Archive | Home Start North Dorset

Covid-19 Family Survival Pack

We hope everyone is surviving this difficult time. Our wonderful staff team have put together this useful survival pack. Its full of ideas on routines, schedules, activities, as well as contact for further support. We hope you find it useful. If you have any ideas you would like to share with other families, please get in touch with us at!AhCg_eayhWDigYJs36AKDx5cCSyaTw?e=gCfNod


Home-Start North Dorset Groups

Following the government guidance issued last night around social distancing, our Mess and More group will not be running today or over the next few weeks. Our Mothers in Mind group that run on a Monday will also not run. We will keep everyone informed of when these groups are likely to reopen. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Take care and be safe
Home-Start North Dorset


Our Secret Postcard event at The Guggleton Gallery, Stalbridge

Home-Start North Dorset hosted a successful ‘Secret Postcards’ Exhibition last Friday and Saturday with the enthusiastic support of Isabel de Pelet, Deanne Tremlett and the team at the Guggleton Farm Arts Gallery in Stalbridge raising over £2,600 for the charity. Approximately 70 friends and supporters attended the event and bought most of the 120 cards (displayed anonymously) which had been created and donated by local and national artists, including a few celebrities such as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Antony Gormley, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Ivana Trump.  Local celebrities, aka ‘The Pearlies’ Dave and Paula Hemsley, also attended to add a bit of sparkle.

The remaining cards are featured below (with the names of the artists underneath) for £40 each.  Please review and select a card, and then follow the link below to donate £40 on the ‘Donate’ button at the bottom of the ‘Friends of HSND’ page. Please then email Chelsey Gowen at to organise postage of  your card.

To donate in exchange for a postcard please check here.


Anita Beaumont

Andrew BoatswainAndrew Boatswain

Andrew Boatswain


Amanda Bowes

Alison Bradley

Rose Carter

Angela Corben

Sue Cox

Joan DarbyshireJoan Darbyshire

Rachel Davis

Isabel de Palet

Emma de Polnay

Emma de Polnay

Georgie Pender Denison

Georgie Pender Denison

Jess Egan

Sally Evans

Carolyn Finch

Jo Gardner

Jo Gardner

Goran Hahn

Goran Hahn

Ewdinda Hannam

Squish Harris

Jeremy Hulme


Sean Kretz

Anna Kwiatkowki

Esme Kwiatkowki

Polly Kwiatkowki

Vanessa Maisey

Sally Mclaren

Sally Mclaren

Jenifer Morisetti

Jill Newton

Tom Nutbeam

Tom Nutbeam

Jane Onslow

Judith Opsium

Mark Pearce

Anna Pelley


Bee Grant Peterkin

Zita Saffrette

Zita Saffrette

M R Scott

M R Scott

Pat Taylor Sherwood

Pat Taylor Sherwood

Anita Trapitt

Deanne Tremlett

Sophie Walker

Sophie Walker

Alex Williams

Alex Williams

John Wilsher


Alan Woodward

Ellie Woodward

Rose Wordworth


Home-Start North Dorset needs you!

The local charity needs £70,000 every year to prepare and fund volunteer parents to provide hands-on assistance to families with young children struggling to cope – domestic circumstances are often complicated by mental health, abuse issues or rural isolation.

We are creating a new FRIENDS For FAMILIES social network of sympathetic supporters each of whom will aim to raise £120 from April 2019 till March 2020 – just £10 per month. A dedicated donation page link (on this page) will be set up and operable from 5th April with a year-end target of £5,000 raised collectively.

We want this to be FUN and have come up with an initial list of ideas for ways you can raise funds locally at home and away – the list below outlines just some of them.   You can donate the proceeds from your efforts as you go along or plan a single large project and give one lump sum.   As well as keeping FRIENDS up-to-date with fund-raising progress, by referring to this page from time to time you can gain inspiration from other FRIEND’s ideas and successes which we will post on a regular basis.

As a new FRIEND, we would also encourage you to find and sign up ONE OTHER new FRIEND to share ideas and organisation of larger events…just let us have email contact details for our records.

Here are a few suggestions….but do let us know if you have any other bright ideas!

  •  Secret Houses programme – quarterly – Home-Start North Dorset is planning four days out where your guests are invited into some unusual or historic private homes (this is not open to the public at large)
  • Organising or hosting a birthday party? A wedding? A wake? Request guests donate to the HSND page rather than bring presents/flowers….
  • Do you play bridge? Chess? Backgammon? Golf? Whether a regular or dedicated event, play for high stakes and make sure that HSND is the beneficiary
  • Start up (or re-direct) a Book Club with participants donating £10 per book reading session
  • Wine tasting evening – we can provide details of a professional wine tasting company to visit private home addresses and host two – three-hour free wine tasting evenings – charge guests £10 and throw in some nibbles
  • Jewellery ‘Cleaning’ Afternoon Tea – bring your favourite pieces to clean and show friends – jewellery lovers adore to see and admire other pretty baubles, especially items rarely allowed out
  • Bingo – always a fun evening with friends and the more the merrier
  • Monopoly – using the old set (with paper money) or new (with electronic banking gadget), invite up to four friends to play with each paying an entry fee (£10)
  • Invite Friends home for a Games Night – play or compete along with your favourite TV game show: MasterMind; The Chase; University Challenge, Tipping Point; Tenable etc – charge each to compete and allocate a small sum out of the total to the winner
  • Home Fair/s – if space at homes permits or prevail upon a friend, designate a date and invite friends to bring along for sale cottage industry wares and/or bric-a-brac and old/out-of-season clothing (bake sale; home crafts; gifts; home-made jewellery etc) with a percentage of sales going to HSND
  • Car Boot Sale (along the same lines as above)
  • Physic Salon/Tarot/Holistic Healing Morning/Afternoon – invite tarot card readers and professional physics/mediums/holistic healers to present ‘snapshot’ / introduction sessions at home to interested chums…and everyone is secretly interested!
  • Home Spa/Salon Sessions at Home – invite a professional masseur/beautician/hair stylist/manicurist to your home and invite three to four guests to enjoy short sessions (approx. 20 minutes per individual) for a total of one and a half hours over a two-hour booking – negotiate with the professional first!
  • Poker Night (especially for the lads)…..
  • Strictly Come Dancing for HSND – each guest to pay to support a candidate….
  • Sports Evening – on those special sporting occasions (Cup Final/Tennis/Sailing etc) – host an evening with guests betting on the winners with HSND to benefit…
  • Home Movies Night – download the latest blockbuster or a classic movie and invite a few friends around for evening at the movies and maybe throw in a few snacks – charge £10 per person and with 10 guests you’re a third of the way there!


Watch the target indicator on the Virgin Moneygiving page increase bit by bit and know that you are helping vulnerable local families.


To sign up for FRIENDS For FAMILIES or if you want more specific information and       ideas please email our PR & Events Co-ordinator, Karen Luard on            


Ever wondered exactly what our volunteers do?

A Home-Start volunteer’s account

Just as there is no typical family that Home-Start supports, I would say there is also no typical home-visiting volunteer.’

Some get involved because they have time to spare, enjoy listening, getting to know and help families who live in their community.  Others feel they would like to give something back having been supported themselves through hard times.  All give their most precious asset: Time.  A rare and wonderful thing to spare someone in our frantic and busy lives.

I have been visiting families in North Dorset for 5 years.  The premise is simple.  Give 2-3 hours a week to visit a family you are carefully matched to, in their own home.  The family is on board with the support and so as a volunteer you always feel welcomed in.  I have worked with single Mums, Mums and Dads together, very young Mums and ones who have come to parenting late.  All the families have at least one child under the age of 5.

So what happens in those 2 hours?  A lot of listening, chatting, getting down on the floor and playing with small people, often giving Mum a much needed break.  I have supported a few families where mobility for the Mums has been an issue, so I’ve needed to get in touch with my inner 5 year old and raced around the park with the children.  One Mum was new to the area and had an 8 month old and felt very isolated.  We spent the majority of my visits walking and talking, her working through the difficulties she was facing with a rocky relationship and all the changes that come with being a new Mother.  By the end of our time together she’d found new perspective on her situation and a newfound confidence.

I am not there to provide answers or offer advice.  We all have to find solutions to our own problems; sometimes it just helps to have someone giving you the space to work them out.

I have been ‘the friend’ for someone attending the Toddler Group for the first time, or going to the dentist, or taking a trip to the library.  Or being there for moral support in a meeting with a social worker.  We have faced the dreaded supermarket trips with unwilling toddlers together.  Laughed together in the face of typical parenting craziness.  Sadly a few Mums had escaped abusive relationships and needed reminding that they are doing a good job and it is hard, and they are not alone.

I have never worked with a parent who doesn’t want to be the best parent they can be.  I have learnt something from every family I have supported and have taken great pleasure in watching how giving such a simple thing, just a few hours a week can make such a difference.  If parents are feeling supported and listened to that can only be a good thing for the children.

If you think this is something you would like to get involved in give Jamie or Heather a ring on 01258 473038 or have a look at the website for more information.

There is a new Training Course starting after Easter and you will always be given a warm welcome and supported throughout your time as a volunteer.


Registered Office: Office 2, The Exchange, Old Market Hill,
Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 1FH.