Supporting young families to grow and thrive

Published on 02 June 2023

Two women are in a loungeroom supporting a young toddler to stand up

Council’s free In-Home Family Mentoring program helps families with children aged under six, who face challenges due to isolation, post-natal depression, additional needs or multiple births.

Jess lives in Eltham with her partner Brendan and 13-month-old bub Chloe – but her entire family lives overseas.

Feeling isolated, a referral from their Maternal and Child Health Nurse connected them to Nillumbik’s In-Home Family Mentoring Program.

A highly-skilled volunteer mentor helps out during two-hour weekly visits.

“Sometimes mentors just come over and go for a walk with them, or help link them to local services, for example meeting them at a library story-time,” said program co-ordinator Belinda Lyons.

“Sometimes I get a tear in my eye… it really is powerful what they do in a short amount of time.”

Jess’s mentor, Mel Sinclair, a mum-of-five and former nurse, has helped six families in as many years. The visits have had a huge impact on Jess.

“Initially I was really struggling being alone with Chloe… without someone to chat to,” Jess said. “She’s my firstborn, there’s so many doubts about everything but Mel has raised her own kids, and has so much to share.”

Recruiting volunteers now - could you mentor a young family?

Have you reached a time in life that you want to give back, make new lasting connections, and help a local young family develop their parenting confidence? 

In-Home Family Mentor volunteers are screened, and receive full training to make a significant difference to a local family. They provide caring, evidence-based, one-to-one family support. Some of our mentors have a professional background in midwifery, nursing or early years but most have the experience of being a parent themselves, and tell us that the support they provide to families is deeply rewarding. 

Volunteer applications are now open, with mentor training to commence in July.

Please call 9433 3368 to discuss the role, or to find out more and apply via our volunteer recruitment page.

Pictured: Jess with In-Home Family Mentor Mel and baby Chloe