Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur steps in as Divorce Day sees spike in marriage problems

Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur supported 144 families last year and a third of these had children living with one parent. Picture: Sharon McCutheon
Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur supported 144 families last year and a third of these had children living with one parent. Picture: Sharon McCutheon

Divorce Day traditionally sees a spike in couples seeking to end their marriage but Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur is stepping in to ensure the children affected ‘bounce back’.

The family support charity has a team of volunteers who help parents through difficult times, and the post-Christmas period is one of the most challenging.

It is said 25% more couples see seek legal support to separate on the first Monday after the Christmas holidays, known as Divorce Day, than at any other time of the year.

Gurpreet Singh, a Relate relationship counsellor, explained: “Christmas is a stressful time. Arguments might start with the dishes but can escalate to ‘you never listen to me’.”

Home-Start says young children can find it bewildering and upsetting. They may experience the loss of the parent who moves out of the family home keenly, at the same time as living with a stressed and worried single parent.

The charity’s volunteers can help children and their parents bounce back from family breakdown and change.

With the anticipated rise in the number of families seeking help after Christmas, more support is always needed.

Charlotte Simmons, senior organiser, said: “Children do bounce back from change and setbacks with support and care.

“Home-Start provides one-to-one, non-judgemental help to families needing a hand along the way and maybe you could be the next person to help a local family going through this big change?

“We welcome parents with a wide range of family life experience, women and men. We have families requiring help now.”

When families reach out for help, they can ride the bumps more easily, according to Home-Start, and the Arun, Worthing and Adur volunteers supported 144 families last year, one third of which had children living with one parent.

Home-Start volunteers offer a listening ear to the frazzled parent and a practical approach to the new structure of family life. Parents need help with their stress, anxiety, money worries and sometimes re-building a positive relationship with their children, who maybe angry or upset with them.

Charlotte said volunteers are a lifeline for families during this time of change.

The next volunteer training course starts at Bognor Regis Nursery School on Friday, January 18. It will run for eight weeks on Fridays from 9.30am to 2.30pm. Call the office on 01903 889707 for more information or to sign up.

Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur has been supporting families with young children since 1999.

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