Home is where we start from

D.W. Winnicott, the eminent psychiatrist, said that Home is where we start from, so how clever of our founder to call the service Home-Start. In dreams homes often represent the essence of the self.   At the moment the uncertainty for so many of the families we work with is about their home. Families, who under very difficult circumstances have managed to rebuild their lives, we have watched disintegrate under the present process. As an organisation we know that changes had to happen, but it is often the most vulnerable people in our society that are being affected by the changes. To actually keep these families functioning and safe takes enormous dedication and sheer will. I have watched both volunteers and staff go far beyond the call of duty, just to get a family through another day of pressure and uncertainty.  I still marvel at the resilience of the families, but as always with these things the true cost remains invisible to most people. At the moment we know there are more hospital visits and more visits to the GP as people buckle under the uncertainty and the pressure that brings. As a service we see first-hand the effects of any government legislation both good and bad. The amount of work it takes to support just one family through this process is quite staggering and only the voluntary sector working with volunteers I suspect can afford to spend this time and manpower.  For many of our families the Olympics never happened, because they were fighting for the safety and wellbeing of their children. They were concerned about a roof over their children’s heads. The very people who would have benefitted from a bit of fun and joy were excluded. The effect on the children has been varied, but many children take on the role of carer for their parents as they see their parents struggle. Winnicott would have known how damaging this is for children and the long term consequences for those children. For the first time working for Home-Start I am left feeling immense sadness for what I see around me. The challenges the families we work with face are sometimes complex, but we know that with time we can support them to change that which can be changed and accept that which can’t be changed and know the difference, but at the moment the solutions are much harder to see and certainly we are unable to prevent the enormous suffering.

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2 Responses to “Home is where we start from”

  1. Even when the so-called solution does come for a family it is too late. The damage has been done, the self-respect, which is all that many of these families had, is taken away from them.
    As a volunteer I have seen a family – adults and children -crushed by months of continuous stress and pressure trying to secure a roof over their heads. I agree Christa….. I feel an immense sadness.

  2. We need a return to philantropic housing benefactors who will provide sustainable housing in inner cities

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