Home Start Barnet and Harrow source and deliver educational support and resources to 30 disadvantaged and vulnerable families in Harrow.
Before lockdown, Home Start visited families’ homes 3 hours a week to provide holistic community care for children under five and facilitated a ‘Stay and Play’ playgroup.
Once the Covid-19 crisis hit, access to recreational spaces and parks became restricted, where life and play became harder for families who did not have a garden. Play is very important, as recognised by Shumaker, who said:
“Playtime is precious. Play builds brain pathways for thinking, creativity, flexibility, empathy and many other lifelong skills.”
With this in Mind, Home Start acted swiftly to ensure their essential service could continue to be delivered. This delivery was made possible by Harrow Giving awarding an emergency grant for toys.
As Tamar Glyn, Senior Coordinator from Home Start conveyed:
“These toys added light into the lives of our families.”
The grant became a lifeline for many families who Home-Start helps and fund tailor-made educational and development toys and Arts and Crafts, buying from suppliers at preferential rates.
Home Start moved its befriending online, with both trained staff and volunteers helping families combat loneliness and isolation by offering; remote story, music and cookery sessions, money management and counselling. In addition, they offer antenatal and postnatal groups for vulnerable mothers within Harrow.