About Home-Start Cambridgeshire

Home-Start is a voluntary organisation committed to promoting the welfare of families with at least one child under five years of age.

About Home-Start Cambridgeshire

Home-Start volunteers support families in a sensitive and flexible way. They share their time and friendship and work alongside parents, focusing on their strengths and offering families the opportunity to develop new relationships, ideas and skills. Supported parents are better able to engage in community life, to the benefit of themselves and their children.

Our umbrella organisation, Home-Start UK, provides valuable guidance on policy, training, information and personal support, enabling Home-Start Cambridgeshire to respond to local needs, but have the quality of service derived from agreed national quality standards. We are, however, an independent charity, responsible for all our own fundraising.  We aim to help to reconnect and reintegrate families with their community. Children, parents and the wider community all benefit from Home-Start Cambridgeshire’s work.

What we do

We help families in Cambridgeshire who have young children, by providing a volunteer to visit them in their own homes regularly for friendship and support.

Home-Start support helps to:

  • Reduce family isolation and increase social support networks
  • Strengthen parent-child relationships
  • Improve parents’ emotional health and well-being
  • Develop and improve parenting skills
  • Improve the home environment
  • Improve children’s health, well-being and development
  • Increase access to health, education and community services

Areas we cover

Home-Start Cambridgeshire serves the whole of the county of Cambridgeshire.

“Home-Start raises self-confidence, improves social networks, reduces difficult behaviour on the part of the child and improves mental and physical health” – Every Child Matters Government Green Paper.

Case studies

Becky’s story

Becky’s story

I’ve suffered with my mental health for as long as I can remember in one way or another, and have always struggled to deal with what some people may...

read more
Liz’s story

Liz’s story

Sitting in the garden with a nice ice cold drink, watching the kids playing together, lots of laughter filling the air, is certainly something I...

read more
Krish’s story

Krish’s story

Our little angel came to us with the help of IVF ( 2nd attempt) after 14 years of medical tests, medications, operations etc together with lots of...

read more


Over many years, we have developed more specialist projects or integrated specialist skills into our staff and volunteer teams.

Fenland project

Fenland project

We are currently accepting referrals for families based in Fenland who need support to: Improve child’s behaviour – build resilience and coping...

read more


We are always looking to recruit new volunteers.

If you are interested please contact 01480 700242 or office@homestartcambridgeshire.co.uk

Could you join our team of Trustees?

The Board of Trustees is currently seeking new members who will be enthusiastic promoters of the charity, team players and have the ability to give time and energy to the role.

The charity is in an exciting period of change and development and we look forward to making new appointments to the existing committed Board of Trustees.

Fenland Project

Do you live in or near Fenland? If so we are keen to hear from you. The project aims to help families who:

  • Are isolated and need support to enable them to access social activities and health appointments.
  • Need some support to build resilience and find coping strategies so that that parent child bonding improves through play and social interaction.

We have spaces for 1:1 home visiting for typically between three to six months support. We also have a group in Wisbech which encourages families to develop independence and volunteers are welcome to join our staff team on these weekly sessions.

Children in Need logo

Core provision

We always need 1:1 home visiting volunteers across Cambridgeshire to support families that will benefit from early intervention. We work with families who are isolated, who are recovering from domestic abuse, have mental health issues, who experience multiple births, have a disabled child or are finding coping difficult for any reason and need some extra time limited help to form relationships with their child, to build resilience and to develop skills as well as to access services and other forms of support. Volunteers will agree targets with the family and Home-Start Co-ordinator so that visits have a purpose and an aim in mind.

Our staff

Marney Connor - Scheme Manager

Marney worked for the Ministry of Defence, in a variety of roles, for 20 years before deciding to have a complete change in her career. She has been a Volunteer, Trustee, Scheme Administrator and Scheme Co-ordinator for Home-Start Cambridgeshire since 2009. Marney is married with 2 grown up sons. In her spare time she also works as a Hypnotherapist.

Emma Sadler - Co-ordinator

Emma started work at Home Start Cambridgeshire in November 2017 as a Co-ordinator following a career break of 3 years to look after her 2 young children. Before this Emma worked in the Criminal Justice System for 16 years in a variety of agencies and roles, within prison and community settings. The majority of these years was spent working in the Probation Service and specifically within the field of Domestic Abuse. Emma enjoys working alongside people to help them reach their full potential and is passionate about the value of early intervention and preventative work. Emma’s spare time is mostly spent running around after her children but when she can she also enjoys long walks in the fresh air, preferably by the sea, spending time with family and friends.

Emma Smith - Co-ordinator

Emma joined Home-Start Cambridgeshire in January 2018 and was thrilled to be offered an opportunity to support families in the community. Emma has a son Alfie and 20 years’ experience working within the Early Years with children 0-5 and for the last 14 years has managed Day Nurseries in Cambridgeshire working with young children and their families. Emma has a passion for ensuring children have a good start in life and enjoys working with and supporting families to achieve this. In her spare time Emma enjoys playing Netball competitively in a Cambridgeshire League, spending time with her family and taking long walks, usually along the seafront.

Julie Balaam - Co-ordinator (Fenland project, funded by Children in Need)

Julie began working at Home Start Cambridgeshire in November 2020 as a Co-ordinator, working mainly in Fenland.  Previously, she spent 20 years working in nature conservation in the charitable and public sectors, including working with volunteers and local schools and communities, helping children and families to discover and enjoy nature and the outdoors.  Julie is passionate about working with families with young children to help them feel supported when they need it most.  She enjoys spending time outdoors – come rain or shine – running, gardening, walking, swimming and bug hunting with her two young boys.

Julia Bailey - Senior Administrator


Julia joined Home-Start Cambridgeshire in April 2012. She is responsible for a wide range of administrative duties and enjoys the variety of work that Home-Start brings; dealing with families, volunteers, staff and trustees. Prior to joining Home-Start she worked for 10 years for Cambridge Assessment, working within the Customer Services Department of the Cambridge International Examinations Board. In her spare time she attends a dance fitness class, enjoys walking and spending time with her three children. 

Rhiannon Ford – Administration and Data Analysis Assistant

Rhiannon Ford

Rhiannon joined the Home-Start team in January 2022 and is excited to be helping families in an administrative capacity. Rhiannon has experience working in administration with a wide range of duties, including working with volunteers and staff HR. She has spent five years as a stay-at-home mum raising her two children before stepping back into paid employment. Rhiannon has recently qualified as a nutrition coach and in her spare time enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

Katy Hughes - Finance Administrator

Katy Home-Start CambridgeshireKaty joined the team in January 2020 as Finance Administrator. Having worked in finance for over 20 years in a variety of roles this is her first time working for a Charity.

Katy has two teenagers at home, one of which has Cystic Fibrosis and is also on the Autistic Spectrum. In her spare time Katy loves to dance and attends ballet, tap and jazz classes as well as taking part in local Amateur dramatics productions.

Helen Meredith - Group Leader

Helen is Group Leader of the Home-Start Family Group in Chesterton. Prior to this she worked as an occupational therapist in mental health services, specialising in dementia care. Her passion has always been to enable individuals to reach their potential, be as independent as possible and maintain a sense of well-being. When not at work Helen spend most of her time being a mum and looking after her three children. If there is time for any relaxation she enjoys pilates and playing the piano/singing! Helen also helps at her local church with the children’s work.

Maria Owston - Group Worker

Maria has been involved with Home-Start Cambridgeshire since January 2012. She loves supporting the mums and their children at our Chesterton Group, a job which she finds very rewarding and enjoyable.

Maria, who comesfrom Finland, has a background in social and health care. She has three children and also teaches medical students, provides activities for the elderly and teaches Finnish.

Sian Williams - Play Worker

Sian is a mum of two who has lived and worked in Cambridge for the last 20 years.  She has always worked in childcare both in schools, playgroups and childminding.  Sian has been a Home-start volunteer for more than six years and is a Playworker at the Home-Start Group on a Thursday.  In her spare time Sian works as a children’s entertainer – dressing up as a fairy.  It keeps her out of mischief!

Emma King - Group Leader

Emma started volunteering with Home Start in 2015 and is now the Group Leader at the Wisbech Group.  She worked in IT before she had a career break to have her two children.  During her time volunteering Emma discovered that she had a passion for working with children to provide support and assistance. In her spare time Emma enjoys walking her dogs and spending time with her family.

Natalie Nunn - Group Worker

Natalie joined Home-Start initially as a volunteer.  She decided she wanted to donate some of her spare time and was placed at a new group in Wisbech and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Once a job opportunity came up at the group she applied and has been employed with Home-Start ever since.  She truly enjoys her work and finds it very rewarding.

Lucy Enfield - Play Worker

Lucy is a Play Worker at Home Start Cambridgeshire. She really enjoys working here as she feels rewarded that families don’t feel alone in situations and that they can feel free to talk about anything.  She also works alongside children and their parents at a local nursery. In her spare time she loves to go to the gym, play badminton and meet with friends and family.

Our Patron

Pippa Goodhart, Home-Start Cambridgeshire patronPippa Goodhart became the Patron of Home-Start Cambridgeshire in 2014.

Pippa is the author of many well-loved children’s books, including ‘You Choose’, ‘What Will Danny Do Today?’ and ‘Chapatti Moon’ (www.pippagoodhart.co.uk/). She lives just outside Cambridge and is an active supporter of Home-Start Cambridgeshire.

Our trustees

Home-Start Cambridgeshire is firmly rooted in the local community and is managed by a Trustee Board drawn locally.

Aaron Venables - Chair of the Board

Aaron is an executive level leader with over 22 years’ experience in the Life Science and Biotechnology industries. He currently serves as the Chief Commercial Officer for Cambridge based Fluidic Analytics. Aaron has been on the Board of Trustees since August 2015 and is also our Data Protection Officer. Prior to that he served on the board at Home-Start Glasgow North and also worked on the Scotland Appeals Committee for BBC Children in Need.

Claire Hoather - Vice-Chair and Chair of the Fundraising Committee

Claire has worked in the Charity Sector for over 20 years, primarily in Fundraising and Development, spanning causes across society. Amongst others, Claire delivered for the charitable appeal of the Lord Mayor of London, was Director of Fundraising for SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity, and most recently led the transformation of fundraising at The Cambridge Literary Festival.

Claire is Vice Chair of Governors at a local Infant School and volunteers for a number of local community initiatives in her home town of St Neots, raising money for causes that are close to her heart. She focuses on causes that enhance the lives of young people, with a real passion for the importance of the Early Years.

Claire is married to Martin and is kept active, when not training for her first London Marathon, by their two boys, Charlie and Elliot. She is delighted to have joined the Board of Trustees in January 2021.

Anthony Frost - Vice-Chair and Chair of the Strategic Plan Committee

Anthony joined the Board of Trustees in March 2020. He spent 40 years working in a commercial and professional environment, most recently as a Director of Santander UK where he headed up the bank’s corporate communications, and before this for several well-known blue-chip organisations. Since leaving full-time employment, he’s acted as a consultant to small and medium-sized businesses across the UK and more recently has established a property management and rental company. He is married with two daughters.

Sue Wilson - Treasurer, Company Secretary and Chair of the Finance Committee

 Sue is a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) specialising at work primarily in employment and tax issues for fast-growth businesses.  She is a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser. Outside of work, Sue also acts as treasurer for her local church and independent examiner for another small charity. Sue joined the Board of HSC in 2015 as treasurer and brings primarily financial management and regulatory skills to the team.

Mike Garrick Green - Trustee and Data Protection Officer

A father of two, Mike is an enthusiastic advocate for family support, encouraging and motivating people to achieve great outcomes. With over 23 years of professional experience as a director, senior manager and founder/owner of various businesses, Mike works as a business mentor, consultant and advisor supporting various organisations with strategy, process improvement and digital transformation. Bringing a strategic mindset Mike is a problem solver; planning and implementing change to help people effectively define and realise business or personal objectives.

Mary Wade - Trustee and Health and Safety Officer

Mary joined the Board of Trustees in June 2020.  She has spent over 20 years working in leadership roles in Education both in the UK and overseas. She has two children and is also a Governor at a local primary school. She believes strongly in the importance of children and families having access to support through the early years of childhood.

Maggie Challis - Trustee and co-Safeguarding Officer

Maggie spent her professional years in a range of educational development roles establishing quality assurance systems that made sure professional standards in education were maintained while still putting learning and the learner at the heart of the process.

During nearly 20 years as a volunteer for Samaritans, Maggie was part of the training team in both Sheffield and Cambridge and Chair of trustees for the Cambridge branch.  She has been a parish councillor for 7 years and also volunteers at her local theatre.

Maggie has three adult children and a growing number of grandchildren and step-grandchildren – currently standing at 6.  Trying to find time to be with them, when they all live in different towns, none of them in Cambridgeshire, is a continuous and delightful challenge. The final pieces of the household jigsaw are a hyperactive collie dog, two neurotic cats and a long-suffering husband.

Jo Studdert - Trustee and co-Safeguarding Officer

Jo is a retired primary school teacher, having begun her career in an ex-mining town in Northumberland, followed by many years in Inner London, mainly in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. After moving with her family to Cambridge, she soon joined the staff of Queen Edith Primary School as Deputy Head and SENCo. She started a Home-Start prep course 3 weeks after her retirement and loved her time as a family visiting volunteer. Her volunteering then took a different turn as she became a trustee of Home-Start Cambridge and District before the merger which formed Home-Start Cambridgeshire.

John Clucas - Trustee and Member of the Fundraising and Marketing Committee

John is a father and grandfather who has held senior positions in business for over 30 years as both a manager and company director. He was responsible for two business start-ups, managing both sales and marketing over that period. John loves to encourage and mentor colleagues and is passionate about spending valuable time with family and together with wife Linda plays an active part in their local church.

Become a Home-Start Volunteer Today

Home-Start’s team of trained volunteers make sure a child’s early years count. By volunteering just a few hours each week you can transform the lives of young children and their parents in your community.


Find out moreVolunteer application form