United Kingdom

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Home-Start UK,Home-Start UK,

The Crescent, King Street

Leicester, LE1 6RX

Telephone +44 (0)116 464 5490


Patron: HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, KG, GCVO

Board Chairman: Felicity Clarkson CBE

Chief Executive: Rob Parkinson


Company Number: 5382182
Registered Charity England and Wales (1108837) and Scotland (SCO39172)

About us

Home-Start was founded by the late Margaret Harrison CBE. She believed that supporting a family was best done in their home, where it can be shaped to the needs of the family. From the first Home-Start set up in Leicester in 1973, there are around 250 local Home-Starts across the UK and with British Forces in Germany and Cyprus. Each one registered as an independent charity, with its own board, management, operation and fundraising. Together they form one of the leading family support organisations in the country, guided and supported by Home-Start UK.

In 2017 Home-Start worked with 30,000 families and 60,000 children across the UK. This impact was made possible thanks to the work of 16,110 volunteers. All local Home-Starts provide families with young children the support of a home-visiting volunteer. Families are most often referred to Home-Start by a midwife or health visitor, but families can be referred by doctors, schools, or by self-referring.

Home-Starts have also developed new ways of working with families to meet the local needs of their community. Many run parent and toddler groups, others provide specialist support for issues from post-natal illness, breast feeding, coping as a teenage parent or as a refugee. Home-Start UK has introduced projects to focus on early childhood development, including Big Hopes Big Future which has trained specialist volunteers to help prepare children for school, and a project based on speech and language using the LENA programme developed in the USA.

Funding for local Home-Starts comes from a combination of statutory funding, grants, individual giving, challenge events, investment income and the generosity of the National Lottery. A small number of Home-Starts run a charity shop in their high street.

As statutory funding for children and family services has been reduced many Home-Starts have begun collaborating either in consortia, or by merging together to form larger organisations within their local area.

Home-Starts are using their expertise in volunteering or home-visiting to work on projects with other organisations. Many schemes work closely with their local council to cement local partnerships and better liaise with local social services. Home-Start UK works tirelessly to support and strengthen the leadership, operations, impact and sustainability of the local Home-Start schemes, providing up-to-date training for staff, volunteers and trustees, information and guidance on governance, advice on legal and human resources, help with fundraising, and advice to those setting up new schemes.

Finally, Home-Start UK does extensive work in ensuring quality standards across the Home-Start network. In 2014, the Charity Commission formally endorsed Home-Start’s Quality Assurance system under the Commission’s Quality Endorsement Programme, which recognises robust and effective frameworks which are likely to lead to well-run, sustainable and accountable organisations.