Home-Start Orkney

Loneliness and exclusion can hit at any time but perhaps one of the times when it’s least expected is after the birth of a child and during their early years.

I remember as though it were yesterday the day that family came to visit to ooh and ahh over our new baby and my feelings of great pride and inclusion at what we had achieved in producing this little bundle of joy. What I was not prepared for was the feeling of great loneliness and momentary resentment,  yes resentment when everyone then decided to up and leave and do the necessary wetting of the babies head, leaving me behind quite literally holding the baby. It was the moment when I realised that me, the selfish me at the age of 28 no longer had room to exist. Back then there were not the organisations available to help parents to cope with these feelings of immense loneliness at this the most strangest of times.

Thankfully today there are organisations on hand to help.

Home-Start Orkney is an organisation set up in August 2001 to help parents who are both mentally and physically finding it hard to cope and who most likely do not realise that they are not alone. Around 45% of new parents have feelings of not coping and isolation. Their aim is to support parents as they learn to cope, improving their confidence and building better lives for their children both inside and outside of the home.

“The five years between birth and school are vital for a child’s development. What goes on inside a family strongly determines the opportunities and life chances children have.”

Children who are raised in a stable, loving, family environment are more likely to have a positive and healthy future.”

“Home-Start works because our volunteers are parents. They understand how hard it can be. They work alongside parents, in their own homes, to help them cope with the stresses and strains of life and make sure they have the skills, confidence and strength they need to nurture their children”.

There is always help available and people can be referred to Home-Start Orkney through their Health Visitor, Doctor or counselor. Last year alone Home-Start Orkney helped 33 families and so far this year there are 28 families with which they are helping.

Home-Start Orkney currently have 4 members of staff (including the very helpful and friendly Erica Copeland) and a small army of volunteers (more always welcome) who visit people in their homes for around 2 hours to assess the best ways in which each individual family can be helped with situations such as post-natal depression, bereavement, isolation, physical health problems and many other issues.

Their opening hours are Mon-Thurs from 9am-3pm, however on the occasion that there is no one available to take your call there is an answer machine available for you to leave your contact details and they shall return your call as soon as possible.

They also offer a drop in service for toddlers every Thursday from 10am-11.30am and a drop in baby service on alternate Tuesdays from 11am-12pm thus enabling people to interact with others in a like minded situation.

There will also be a screening of the award winning film Resilience’ at the Phoenix Cinema on Saturday 17th June at 12pm at a cost of £7.50 which Home-Start Orkney would recommend for anyone currently involved with young children be you the parent, the health visitor, child minder or nursery nurse to attend.

resilience 001

Resilience Showing in Orkney

This documentary is being brought to Orkney by ReAttachment, NHS Health Scotland and  Connected Baby an organisation that brings the science of connection to life:

“Connected Baby is all about creating connection”

Their aim is to help the public understand the scientific knowledge surrounding connection from the moment of birth.

Resilience: A documentary film about the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope. Directed by James Redford.

This documentary centres around:

 “How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) can be linked to destructive behaviour and medical diseases”


Researchers have recently discovered a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood. As the new documentary Resilience reveals, toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Trailblazers in pediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress—and the dark legacy of a childhood that no child would choose.
Reporter: Helen Armet

If you feel like you are needing help or advice or if you would love to volunteer you can get in touch with Home-Start Orkney:

Address Home-Start Orkney 7 Main Street KIRKWALL Orkney KW15 1BU Telephone: 01856 870770 Fax: 01856 870770 Email: postmaster@homestartorkney.org.uk Website:  http://www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/HOMESTARTORKNEY

Home- Start Orkney is currently funded by Orkney Islands Council, The Big Lottery and The Robertson Trust.


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