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Lottery secures charitys future


The future of a support service that helps families with young children is secure for at least the next five years after it received a lottery grant.

Home-Start Dukeries, based in Ollerton, faced possible staff redundancies and services were at risk of being halved when current funding ends in March.

A £179,744 grant from the Big Lottery Fund means the service will be able to expand its home visiting service that offers support and advice to families with pre-school children.

The group is now looking for more volunteers to allow it to continue providing practical and emotional support for families through home visiting, group support and social activities.

One of those who has been helped by the service is Miss Katrina Bacon (33) formerly of Bentinck Close, Boughton.

Miss Bacon had three children Ryan Moore (13) Luke Moore (12) Natasha Moore (10) and was pregnant with her fourth child Rhys Smith (5) when she was first put in contact with Home-Start Dukeries.

Miss Bacon and her partner, Mr Dennis Smith (26) have since had two other children Kyle Smith (4) and Macaulay Smith (1).

Miss Bacon was advised to contact Home-Start by her health visitor who thought she might benefit from more support at home.

Miss Bacon said: “I started feeling depressed and was concerned at going through labour again.

“The children were out of the baby stage and I was not sure I could cope.”

A volunteer from Home-Start Dukeries, which covers Ollerton and Boughton, Walesby, Wellow, Edwinstowe and surrounding villages, began visiting Miss Bacon at home once or twice a week.

Miss Bacon said: “It was someone to talk to. If there was anything I was unsure about I could ask her for advice.

“She would entertain the children while I did simple tasks that were hard to do when the children were all there.”

The volunteer also encouraged Miss Bacon to go out and meet people.

She said: “They have helped me a lot. I cannot put it into words — but I would not be where I am now.

“It was a life-line and something different to look forward to for a couple of hours every week.”

Miss Bacon said she had kept in touch with volunteers and regarded them as friends and members of her family.

Mrs Marie Lomax (46) of Newark Road, Wellow, was the volunteer assigned to Miss Bacon for about ten months until recently.

She visited Miss Bacon’s home once a week shortly after the children arrived home from school.

She read books, played games and held sports day activities with the children while Miss Bacon prepared dinner.

Mrs Lomax said the children were a credit to their parents.

She said she volunteered because she liked the satisfaction from bringing a little spark into people’s lives.

The senior co-ordinator of Home-Start Dukeries, Mrs Val Wilson, said the grant was fantastic news.

“We know the demand is there because health visitors and midwives are referring families to us all the time.”

She said there were about 20 volunteers but they would like to have at least 30.

The group helps more than 100 families a year through home visiting, social groups and a home safety scheme that provides safety equipment such as cupboard locks and stair gates.

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