Home-Start Worldwide (HSW), a UK registered charity founded in 1999, is the coordinating structure of the Home-Start international network. It provides support to a network of Home–Start organisations in 22 countries on five continents, safeguarding the standards and the good name of Home-Start Worldwide, providing policy advice, facilitating the sharing of good practice and supporting the development of the Home-Start model in new countries.

22 countries

19,000 volunteers

37,000 families

73,000 children

502 schemes


All our members offer a free of charge service providing support and friendship to families with at least one pre-school child through regular home visiting. Trained volunteers, usually parents themselves from the local community, help parents to grow in confidence, strengthen their relationships with their children and widen their links with the community. Whatever the issues families face – isolation, finding it difficult to cope with the demands of parenthood and the stresses of life or facing financial hardship, marital problems, domestic violence, ill health and disabilities – Home-Start volunteers supervised by professional staff (often called coordinators) offer a non-judgmental hand of friendship ensuring children have the best possible start in life.

Increasingly, additional services are being offered by Home-Start schemes to meet the challenges of child rearing in difficult circumstances. These include income generation, reaching out to refugees, psychosocial counselling, nutritional support and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

With our international and lengthy experience, we have become a leading charity in family support and early years’ development, an area increasingly recognised for its crucial importance to a child’s future life-chances. Home-Start Worldwide is also now in demand for its expertise in training and supervising volunteers, its role in promoting volunteering and for the local community self-help ethos which lies at the heart of Home-Start work.


Home-Start schemes operate in many countries of the world and all follow common principles and adopt common values:

• We respect the rights of the child as expressed in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

• We respect the principle of confidentiality, acknowledging that the information on each family is confidential, should be kept only within Home-Start or the organisation auspicing Home-Start and will only be disclosed with the consent of the parents, unless a child’s safety is at risk.

• We adhere to the principles of equality of opportunity, fairness and diversity in all spheres of our activity (personnel, volunteers, families).

• We show respect for the identity and rights of each person and family we serve and oppose any kind of discrimination based on ethnic origin, religion, culture, physical condition, gender identity, sexual orientation, family circumstances or any other factor.

• We show understanding and sympathy in our approach to families and we are non judgmental at all times. We believe that each person and each family has strengths, which should be highlighted and cultivated, and we value cultural differences.

• We are flexible and responsive to family needs and we value the importance of supporting families through friendship.

• We promote gender equality within the family and in society.


Home-Start Worldwide (HSW) wants to see a world where vulnerable families receive the help they need in order to give their children a safe and healthy start in life.


Home-Start Worldwide will help families and children worldwide by facilitating the growth, development and sustainability of the Home-Start volunteer-led family support service, through the support it offers to existing and new Home-Start associations or associations that wish to auspice the Home-Start Service.


Home-Start Worldwide members and Trustees around the world, through their work with families and advocacy at the local, national and international level are contributing to the following SDG targets:

• 2.2 – end child malnutrition by 2025

• 3.2 – end preventable infant mortality by 2030

• 3.5 – strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse

• 4.2 – universal access to quality early childhood development by 2030

• 5.2 – eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls

• 10.2 – empower the social, political and economic inclusion of all by 2030

• 16.1 – significantly reduce all forms of violence

• 16.2 – end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence against children

Home-Start Worldwide is a member of the Global Alliance to Prevent Violence Against Children and our approach seeks to promote non-violent parenting, a key focus of the VAC alliance. It is also a member of Eurochild, the network of organisations throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children.


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Home-Start Worldwide provides support to national associations around the world, and to new and developing schemes.

Home-Start schemes support families in 22 countries and every year, more committed, dynamic individuals or organisations approach us about setting up Home-Start in their country.


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Tony is a UK qualified Chartered Accountant with over 40 years of accounting and financial management experience in the charity and commercial sectors. After qualifying he did VSO in Tanzania and on return taught accountancy students before joining a multinational company for 23 years, working on projects in UK, Middle East and West Africa.  During this time he joined The Royal Institute of Philosophy as Treasurer where he has seen through a quadrupling of charitable activity and associated income. He has served on the Boards of other charities, notably Alive & Kicking in UK, and Ghana where he was involved setting up a new social enterprise. He lives in London and is married with three grown up children and six grandchildren.


Kirpal has over 30 years of working experience for corporates in the UK covering telecoms, banking and technology before switching to the third sector in 2004 to join Home-Start Barnet as CEO.

Under her leadership, Home-Start Barnet has grown to become one of the leading local Home-Start in the UK, by developing a holistic package of family interventions and testing new models of support. She is trained in delivering several parenting programmes and has a keen interest in nurturing health and wellbeing initiatives for low income families.

Kirpal has served as a trustee of several charities including Home-Start Worldwide, been a school governor and joint chair of a consortium of local organisations. She holds a BA in Business and IT, an MBA and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

In her spare time, she likes to travel, spend time with her family, chairing Beacon Lodge Charitable Trust and offering pro bono support to a number of small local charities.

Lizzie Poulton (Network and Development Lead)

Lizzie has over 10 years of experience in the charity sector, with a particular focus on literacy and early intervention in the UK and internationally.

She was the Scheme Manager for Home-Start Lambeth from 2019-2021, steering the organisation through the pandemic and raising over £150,000 in emergency funding. This allowed the organisation to pivot their ways of working from volunteer visits in the home, to phone and online support as well practical items such as craft kits, sensory boxes and supermarket vouchers.

As Programme Manager for Partnership for Children, she supported organisations in the UK and partners in 30 countries to deliver mental health promotion programmes for young children. As well as fundraising, she has experience in project management, operations, training, and communications.

Lizzie lives in Cheltenham with her husband and young son and has a passion for crochet and the World’s Strongest Man competitions!

Anne Sofie Lajmiri (PR & Communication)

Anne Sofie has worked for HOME-START Denmark since 2021, where she is head of projects- and communications. She has several years of experience with the charity sector, and has previously been an active part of several organizations, both as a board member, staff and as a voluenteer herself.  She has a masters degree in comparative literarature and creative writing, and has further enhanced her skills and knowledge by undertaking professional development courses in digital advertisement, social media and project management.

Anne Sofie lives with her husband and daughter in Odense, Denmark and enjoys reading, photographing and spending time with her family and friends. 

Helena Konneh (Fundraising Manager)

Helena Konneh lives in north-east London, UK. She has worked in the voluntary sector for 25 years and more recently worked for Home-Start London. Helena was also a Home-Start volunteer for some of the time.

She believes the Home-Start model is incredibly effective in helping families progress their lives.


Oliver left the Central Office of Information (centre of global communications best practice for public sector) in November 2010 to set up his own communications agency, Hickson Communications, specialising in public sector, charity, communications strategy and behaviour change best practice.

Oliver has worked as a consultant and trainer for Mediatrust since 2012, working on projects such as strategic communications training for BIG Lottery Fund, and a strategic audit for Euradia, the European Diabetes research consortium. Since May 2018 Oliver has undertaken over 35 communications audits on behalf of Comic Relief, Big Local and John Lyon’s Trust.

The work for Comic Relief, Big Local and John Lyon’s Trust is with a range of beneficiaries, such as youth clubs, Refugee Centres and family support centres. Much of the work is around setting the strategic vision, messaging and objectives of the organisations. Life skills development and mental health support are essential parts of their work.

Oliver is a specialist in strategic development and fund-raising for the charitable sector.


For most of his career Ton worked for the City of Rotterdam in various positions. He was head of the department for Youth Affairs which was responsible for subsidizing most of the welfare organisations in Rotterdam. Ton also fulfilled the role of interim-manager, working on several large projects. He was Clerk of the Boroughs for Feijenoord and Ijsselmonde in Rotterdam.

Since his retirement, Ton is a consultant with SESAM Academy. SESAM Academy’s role is to support and advise social organizations in the fields of policy, finance, marketing, communication and working with volunteers. The Academy consultants are volunteers themselves, people who are retired and use their work experience to improve the quality of social organizations.

During his working career Ton has provided support and guidance to organizations for migrants, theatre management and Home-Start.


Joan van Niekerk completed a Master’s degree in Medical Science (Medical and Psychiatric Social Work) at the University of Durban Westville in 1983. Joan also completed a PhD in Social Work focussing on post-apartheid progress in child protection policy and practice in South Africa. She has worked in the field of child protection for 28 years and has actively promoted the prevention of child rights violations and abuse, as well as appropriate responses to abused children and their families.

Joan has considerable experience in working with children in conflict with the law, particularly those who have committed offences against other children. Joan spent 24 years at Childline, initially as Director of Childline KwaZulu-Natal and then as National Co-ordinator of Childline South Africa. She chaired the South African Law Reform Commission Project Committee on Sexual Offences, and participated in consultations that resulted in the initial drafts of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 and the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. She served as a member of the Professional Board for Social Work from 2000 to 2005 and is the Past President and currently a council member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.


Sheena was appointed a Trustee in June 2014. She had a long career in International banking, including 15 years with Citibank in Africa, where she was Country Head Senegal, and Mauritius, and worked extensively in the Ivory Coast and neighbouring countries on bank and public sector relationships. This often involved development banks, NGOs and bilateral donors in their operations in the field, and their government and multilateral stakeholders. She has also worked for Citi, Merrill Lynch and Lloyds Bank in offshore private banking, supporting foundations, trusts and family businesses globally. She was an EC ‘stagiaire’ post-graduation, and an UNECOSOC consultant on investment regulation. Sheena has a Wharton MBA and completed the Financial Times NED Diploma in April 2015. She is a member of The Institute of Fundraising and the Royal African Society.


Yukie has over 20 years’ experience in working for corporates in tourism, furniture and interior design industries. In 1996, she joined ‘Junior Chamber International,’ an NGO of young social entrepreneurs and devoted herself to community and human development projects as a volunteer. As one of the JCI certified trainers, she provided more than 100 training opportunities all over Japan and in the Asian countries.

After switching to the third sector for family and children in 2005, she encountered Home-Start and was convinced that Home-Start could change unhelpful patterns within families and create a better future by empowering both families and communities.

Yukie has been leading Home-Start Japan as their National Director Since 2007 together with 6 charter members. They support 100 local schemes and coordinate the network so that the schemes are all able to learn from one another.

As the director of the host country and together with members of HSW, Yukie organized the ‘HSW Global Conference 2017’ in Tokyo.


Neel works within the field of Parenting Support in the Netherlands and has experience at the Dutch Youth Institute. Neel was also involved in implementing the Hanen Parent Program (Canada) and Triple P (Australia) in the Netherlands.

She has been fortunate to work for the Dutch National Home-Start office for 10 years. Neel now works for a youth health care organization in the Netherlands.  She is also a trustee of Prevention to Fit, a Dutch foundation for parenting support.

After switching to the third sector for family and children in 2005, she encountered Home-Start and was convinced that Home-Start could change unhelpful patterns within families and create a better future by empowering both families and communities.


Craig’s career spans over 20 years and has been entirely focused on technology and its use within organisations. Providing support, design and management across multiple sectors, with significant periods of time spent guiding public sector organisations from law enforcement and central government to child protection agencies.

Craig joins Home-Start Worldwide as a trustee to help shape and guide our digital concerns, from policy and governance through to information and technology management and control.

With local interests as a charity volunteer and amateur sports association secretary, Craig enjoys being able to support his local community and have a positive influence with organisations such as Home-Start Worldwide.

Craig has a young family and dedicates his spare time to his two sons, encouraging them in outdoor persuits such as cycling and angling, and when the wheather isn’t so favourable, we build Lego and cook together.

Reka HEGEDUS – Trustee, Home-Start Worldwide

Réka has been National Director, Home-Start Hungary, since December 2020. She previously served on the Board Advisory Committee and also worked in the office early in her career, publishing Home-Start work on Policies and Practices to combat social exclusion amongst families with young children.  Trained in Sociology and Social Policy, she has worked in Research with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and with various NGOs. She is also, a trained counsellor in Family Therapy and Conflict Resolution and regularly leads support groups for single parents and those who are single mothers by choice.

Contact us

Home-Start Worldwide is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales