Program makes good neighbours

AS WE approach Mother’s Day and National Families Week, spare a thought for the special challenges that parenting in the 21st century brings.
Once upon a time, families had lots of support – their own parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbours they could talk to while washing the clothes at the village well.
Parents were not expected to fill as many roles as they do now, and at least one parent could concentrate their energies on parenting full-time.
In Armidale, there is a group of dedicated volunteers who are available to provide the sort of help that extended families once provided.
Many of these volunteers have families of their own who do not live locally.
Helping Children and Families Association is a locally-based charity that offers a home visiting program for families.
“Our volunteers spend two hours a week with a family. Just being there to play with the children while mum or dad has a rest or does some jobs makes a big difference,” program co-ordinator Cathie Lamont said.
“Our volunteers aren’t there to try to fix problems – they are there to provide the simple neighbourly support that families have identified would help them.
“While families new to parenting or new to Armidale make up the bulk of our referrals, our families come from diverse backgrounds.”
If you are interested in having a volunteer visit your familiy, contact Ms Lamont on 0467 580 016 or visit