What we do

family grp 2010

Home-Start South Suffolk & District is an independent charity that operates as part of Home-Start UK. We recruit, train and provide volunteers that work with families in times of need.

Our support is available to families with young children who are going through difficult times; it is given through home visits by our volunteers and through support group meetings, where children can play together, supervised by our play leader, while parents meet with each other and with Home-Start staff. In many cases, our support is complementary to that of the professional agencies.

Our volunteer will be there for the family as a friend and confidant during a time of stress or difficulty.


Our Organisation

Home-Start South Suffolk & District is one of several regional "Home-Starts", operating within guidelines established by the parent organisation, Home-Start UK.

Home-Start South Suffolk & District consists of a board of directors, staff, managed by a Scheme Manager, all appointed by the board, and a team of over 50 volunteers who, in the main, visit families in their homes. All have undergone training appropriate to their individual roles, and all conform with child protection guidelines and legislation.

To find out more about who we are and how we work click on the links below for staff, directors and volunteers:-


Gill Buckle and Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, are our Patrons.

Statistical Information - 12 months ending 31st March 2015

Home-Start History and Development

Home-Start UK was founded in Leicester in 1973 by Margaret Harrison, whose vision of providing a voluntary organisation to provide help and support by parents to parents and families came to fruition with initial funding from The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and Leicester Council for Voluntary Service.

In the early years professionals, such as social workers and health visitors, became aware of the difference the Home-Start approach was making to the families it supported, and so the scheme was able to expand with financial help from "official" sources.

From 1977 onwards, every year saw at least one - and often several - new regional "Home-Starts" setting up. Each is self-financing - funding is not provided by Home-Start UK.

It was not until 1990 that Home-Start Sudbury and District (as it then was) started, and in 1995, with an expanding geographical area of operation, became Home-Start Babergh. We later moved our base from Sudbury to our present offices in Hadleigh.

In 2012 we agreed a co-operation with Iceni in Ipswich, which saw us supporting families in some areas of Ipswich. The Babergh name increasingly seemed less appropriate and we decided to change our name to Home-Start South Suffolk & District.

In 2014 we joined with the other two Suffolk schemes to form a consortium to successfully win a three year contract with Suffolk County Council to work collaboratively across Suffolk.

Also in 2104 we were successful with Mid Suffolk in obtaining Lottery funding to expand our schemes into West Suffolk and West Ipswich.

With a growing population throughout South Suffolk & District, the need for our special kind of help has grown, often beyond our capacity to meet it. We continue to recruit new volunteers but as they too need support from permanent staff, we need to generate the extra income necessary to fund growth. We are required to maintain the ratio of numbers of staff to volunteers within laid down parameters. Considerable energy has, therefore to be directed towards raising funds from local businesses, the public, and seeking grants from official sources.