Home-Start Cymru is a national charity that provides support to families across 18 local authorities.

The charity is made up of a network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. Families struggling with postnatal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement and many other issues receive the support of a volunteer who will spend around two hours a week in a family’s home supporting them in the ways they need

Whilst visiting families at home is the traditional Home-Start approach, due to covid-19, the trained volunteers can either offer remote support, through weekly telephone or video calls, or meet families face-to-face outside, to offer emotional support and have a chat.

A Home-Start spokesperson said: "We do hope, when Covid restrictions allow, that our volunteers can once again visit families in their own homes for between two and three hours a week to offer an extra pair of hands or a listening ear to provide parents with practical, emotional and financial support, helping them to build a better future for their families."

Kailey is a mum from Llandybie who is benefitting from the support Home-Start Cymru provides.

This is her story:

Kailey is a single mum to four children. Due to her son's epilepsy, the family spent much of the past year shielding. Kailey said support from Home-Start protected her mental health and helped her heal after her relationship broke down.

Kailey said: “Lockdown was pretty traumatic. My son Noah was due to start school but because he has epilepsy and autism and we spent the year shielding. His needs are demanding, so it hasn’t been easy keeping him at home. We spent a lot of time in the garden but when the weather got worse it was awful. My son hates the wind and rain so we had to stay indoors.

"The impact of the pandemic on our family has been pretty severe. It most definitely contributed to the breakdown of my relationship.

"I’m not sure how strong I’d have felt without Home-Start. The lockdown weekly calls, messages and doorstep chats helped me to feel less lonely and isolated. When things are falling apart around you, having a bit of moral support helps enormously.

"My wonderful volunteer from Home-Start Cymru is always there when I need her. It helps to talk to someone who isn’t part of your family or friendship group. That's made a massive difference to my mental health.

"I’m relieved lockdown is over but I’m worried about the lasting impact it’s had on my two youngest children who both have special needs. It’s helped me to know that Home-Start are behind me.

"My volunteer is like a mum to me and her support has most definitely protected my mental health. There are always days when things get on top of me and I feel like I can’t cope but on those days I give her a call and always hang up the phone feeling much better.

"Addiction, abuse and broken relationships plagued a lot of my 20s. I worked so hard to get through rehab and be a good mum to my kids.

"There’s been times when life has been chaotic and the past year has been unsettling but, I no longer feel trapped or pressured. It’s just me and the children now and that’s what I fight for as we look to the future.”

To find out more visit www.homestartcymru.org.uk