The community and the involvement of volunteers, drawn from the community, are integral to the purpose and character of Family Hubs and integrated family services.
Fundamental to the concept of Family Hubs and sustainability, is the importance of encouraging families to embed within their community, build a network of relationships and thereby have support structures in place and relationships which help build resilience and independence.
Community volunteers help create a bridge for families between the services that families experience and the community in which they live, because volunteers belong to that same community and can offer empathy and connection. In this way, community volunteers help parents access and engage with services, reducing feelings of embarrassment or mistrust.
Community volunteers have often experienced services themselves which adds to the value they bring. Furthermore, moving from user to volunteer is an extremely positive step, giving the volunteer training and experience which can lead to new qualifications and even a whole new career.
The video below explains the role of community volunteers in Barnardo’s Family Centres on the Isle of Wight.