There is a growing recognition that volunteering is the backbone of our Society. When you meet Jill Baker, a local retired specialist nurse, you understand the truth behind this statement. Jill’s warmth, commitment, modesty and caring approach epitomises the volunteer approach. She is now celebrating her fifth year as a Home-Start Volunteer and her second birthday as a Trustee on the Denbighshire Home-Start Board representing local Home-Start Volunteers.

Denbighshire Home-Start, part of a UK wide recognised Charity, provides practical support and friendship through weekly home visits to local families in need. Children are at the centre of activities and outcomes revolve around encouraging and nurturing the parent’s strengths and emotional well-being leading to family independence and autonomy.

Jill believes that the value of volunteering in retirement is underestimated and the benefits of spending two to three hours a week with a family contributes to her own health and wellbeing. She realised very quickly when visiting families the reality of how many struggle and how important the work of Home-Start is. ‘Home-Start volunteering is really worthwhile and I get so much out of it. It is about working with families giving them support and friendship for the benefit of their children. It is lovely to see positive outcomes.’ Jill also praises the excellent training she was given along with continued support from the Home-Start Team. ‘The training was fantastic with follow-up training too. I have never experienced such support. If I am unsure or need more help I go straight to the Home-Start team. It is such a joy to become part of a family and build positive relationships so that the impact of support is maximised. Mutual trust is very important.’

Two years’ ago, Jill was approached to consider representing Home-Start Volunteers on the Denbighshire Board of Trustees. Denbighshire Home-Start was very keen to have volunteer representation on the Board. ‘It was a bit of a learning curve I am now able to contribute positively and bring a strength to the Board by providing the volunteers’ point of view.’

The advice Jill has for those thinking of volunteering is. ‘There is so much untapped talent in Denbighshire. It is for everyone, men and women alike. Home-Start covers the whole of Denbighshire and demands are rising. We are always looking for volunteers to help across our operation. Without volunteers Home-Start will not exist locally. You do need lots of patience and a sense of humour. Most important is to love children, listen, adapt and be non-judgemental. There have been huge benefits and rewards for me. I have made a whole new circle of friends which has been particularly special to me in retirement. It keeps me young at heart. I feel so valued.’

There are 168 hours in a week. Could you spare 2 to visit a family’s home and change lives? Contact Denbighshire Home-Start on 01745 814819 or e-mail

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