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Home-Start Guildford Fundraiser Held At The County Club

Published on: 26 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 26 Oct, 2022

A fundraising evening was held for Home-Start Guildford, a charity that supports vulnerable families with at least one child under the age of six, at The County Club in Guildford High Street on Wednesday evening (October 12), writes Hugh Shanks, chairman of Home-Start Guildford.

With costs last year amounting to almost £180,000 and demand for its services increasing, the charity is in urgent need of funds to continue its vital work.

Home-Start Guildford fundraiser at The County Club. From the left, Christopher Critchlow, High Sheriff of Surrey, Rt Hon Anne Milton, Jane Derbyshire, chairman of The County Club, Hugh Shanks ,chairman of Home-Start Guildford.

Over 60 guests attended including a number of borough councillors, the Mayor and Mayoress, Dennis and Mary Booth and Tim Oliver, leader of Surrey County Council.

The speaker for the evening was the High Sheriff of Surrey for 2022-23, Christopher Critchlow. The theme for his year in the role is Against Abuse, For Recovery.

He drew on his experience as a barrister and circuit court judge to describe the difficulties faced by many local families. He has visited a number of women’s refuges including the women’s refuge in Guildford.

Home-Start have supported a number of victims in this refuge in addition to their core service which recruits and trains volunteers who then help vulnerable families in their own homes. Chris emphasised the importance of keeping families together and in their homes because of the damage to life prospects which too often results from children being taken into care.

He thanked Home-Start for the vital work that they do to keep families together and stressed the value of early intervention.

Chris was followed by Anne Milton, former MP for Guildford and a patron of Home-Start Guildford who urged those present to be generous in their financial support.

Anne pointed out that Home-Start Guildford receives only 25 per cent of the money it needs from statutory sources and has to find the remaining 75 per cent through its own efforts. The charity’s costs have increased considerably in the last two years as it has added staff to meet the increased demand in the borough.

As a result, the charity is now facing a significant funding deficit for the second year running and needs more money to cover its current costs and to enable expansion into areas of particular deprivation.

Referrals to Home-Start often come from the most deprived wards and Anne surprised many guests when she said that life expectancy varies dramatically in different parts of our generally affluent borough.

It costs over £1,000 a year to support one family. This money goes largely to pay for the small number of staff who recruit, train and manage the much larger number of volunteers.

The help provided by the volunteers is often described as life-changing and even life-saving by the families who receive the support. This year Home-Start Guildford celebrated 25 years of improving the lives of local families and, with the help of those who recognise the value of their work, will continue for at least another 25 years.

Anyone wishing to help vulnerable families either by donating or by becoming a volunteer please see their website or call 01483 511181.

All the money received goes towards supporting families through home-visiting volunteers and family groups.

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