HOME-START DENMARK – LONE MøLLER’S STORY

LONE MøLLER Denmark

Denmark

But I was busy starting and developing the new volunteer "movement" in Denmark and forgot about Home-Start. Then 12-14 years later, a colleague of mine came back from an international conference excited about an organisation he had heard about. Yes – it was Home-Start! I went through my files, and finding the old Home-Start papers from way back was like finding an old love letter! That's how my life as a social worker hit a fantastic new highway.

Even though Denmark is a small country, it was quite a challenge spreading the word, finding a group of engaged professional people for a national board, and finding funding - first for a national office and then for preparing local schemes - all this happening alongside the worsening international economic crisis! Finally after four years of preparation and fundraising we received enough money from the state, for the national office to work for two days a week.

We often read and hear that Denmark is the "happiest country in the world," but social workers know that there is no such a thing as a life full of happiness. The media was immediately interested in Home-Start and after an article in a national newspaper; we had a "love-storm" at the national office. Hundreds of people - families, professionals and volunteers were emailing and phoning.

Then, what should we do? I felt that I had to meet all these people and travelled from coast to coast, meeting up with families, politicians, social workers and people from the professional foundations. Everybody understood the simple message of the Home-Start way of working: support and friendship.

All along I was supported by my wonderful and very helpful colleague, Wenche from Home-Start Norway and the Home-Start Worldwide international office in London. Their international director and Wenche came to Denmark, which was very encouraging. A few years later Wenche joined us in a very successful two-day meeting in Copenhagen with 15 leading professions. Her presentation of her experiences of Home-Start Norway was once again very convincing.

It's very clear to me that without Home-Start Worldwide and their network of support, Home-Start in Denmark wouldn't exist. From the beginning and all along they gave me all the inspiration and support that I needed. A couple of years after we started Home-Start in Denmark we received enough money to hire an administrator Jeannette and the organization really started thriving. The press remained very positive and we received a lot of free advertising and promotions from TV and other. We now have 14 local schemes in Denmark.

I retired a year and a half ago, leaving the national office to Tine and Berit. I wish them strength and good luck for the future. Now I'm looking back on 14 fantastic years in Home-Start with the feeling that this kind of social work is the most meaningful, impressive and effective work I have done in my 45 years in the social field.

I have had fantastic colleagues, many have become my friends and I still hear stories about the big and small miracles that Home-Start creates, all over the country - and all over the world.

I'm so proud to have been part of Home- Start.

Lone, ex-national director and founder of Home-Start Denmark