Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson has praised the work of Home-Start Wigtownshire for its role in supporting families and children during a special debate in the Scottish Parliament last week.
The debate, which had to be extended because of the number of MSPs wanting to contribute, was proposed by Bob Doris, MSP for Glasgow.
Speaking during the debate Alex Fergusson said: “The great strength of Home-Start is that its various schemes and operations are rooted in the communities that they serve and are managed locally”.
In total 11 MSPs, from all parties, spoke during the debate, commending the organisation’s work in 32 communities across Scotland, supporting over 2,600 families and around 4,000 children.
Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016, and following the successful launch of its first manifesto for Scotland, Home-Start is calling for volunteer-led support for families and children to be made available in every community in Scotland.
Jan McClory, chair of Home-Start’s national committee in Scotland and trustee of Home-Start UK, spoke after the debate at a reception of MSPs along with families, volunteers and staff from the charity.
Jan said, “The Scottish government has long recognised the importance of supporting early childhood intervention. Now we are calling on MSPs to work with us to make sure this commitment is matched at a local level and that our effective family support is available in every constituency in Scotland: providing all children in Scotland with the best possible start in life.”
During the debate several MSPs spoke about the importance of the three key priorities included in Home-Start’s first manifesto for Scotland. The manifesto, called All Our Children, sets out practical solutions to ensure children have safe places to live and play, receive the support they need when someone in their family has a mental health problem, and that they are protected from hunger and poor nutrition.
Mary Wilson, Co-ordinator of Home-Start Wigtownshire, said “Over the last year Home-Start Wigtownshire has worked with 60 families, supporting them through difficult times. Often families lack confidence and our volunteers support them to make the best decisions for their children. We are delighted that the work of Home-Start Wigtownshire and our volunteers has been recognised in parliament.”