History & Achievements


History & Achievements

How it all began….

MargaretHarrisonsmallIn the early 1970’s Margaret Harrison CBE (right), a voluntary worker with families in Leicester, recognised that although a lot of work was being done directly with children, the parents also needed support through difficult times.

When parents themselves are in need of support, the children are also affected. By building their confidence and emotional well being, parents are more able to cope with the difficulties they face, and in turn give their children the time, attention and love they need.

From that single pioneering idea, and the launch of the first scheme in 1973, Home-Start now works in over 300 communities throughout the UK and with British Forces in Germany and Cyprus.

Click here to read about our tree of life project.

Home-Start Merton was launched and opened its doors in June 1993.
Home-Start Merton has a strong track record

Home-Start Merton has over a number of years taken a leading role in the provision of volunteer led family support services in the London Borough of Merton. We are tremendously proud of our achievements which include:-

princessAfter just three years in operation Home-Start Merton became the proud winners of “The Whitbread and Make a Difference Volunteering Award” given in recognition of outstanding service to the community. H.R.H. Princess Michael of Kent presented our Scheme Manager with our award.

Received a grant of £63,000 from the National Lottery to run our unique and highly successful 3 year Personal Development Project for families.

Awarded a capital grant from the National Lottery to enable us to purchase our own premises.

Hosted a Seminar:- ‘Home-Start and Health – Strengthening our community Partnership’

Received a start-up grant from the Local Implementation Fund as part of the Merton’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy to set up our group for teenage parents.

Felicity Clarkson, (Home Office Family Policy Unit) visited our scheme to meet families, volunteers and staff and said ” Many thanks for a most stimulating day. You can be assured that you have increased the ranks of Home-Start supporters.”

Awarded the Investing in Volunteers Kite Mark

Launch of our Teenage Mothers Project which is now recognised as a key local provider for this client group

Began our partnership with the Lavender SureStart Programme.

Awarded 3 year funding agreement from the Health Improvement Programme

Deputy Mayor of Merton, together with James Sainsbury, (Chair, Home-Start UK) joined 110 guests at a fund raising Gala Dinner in celebration of our 10th Anniversary.

Changed the legal structure of the organisation from an unincorporated charity to a charity company limited by guarantee.

Home-Start Merton felt both honoured and privileged, that our Scheme Manager was invited by Home-Start International to speak as a representative of Home-Start at a Conference to shape social policy in Lithuania. Her presentation focused on the dual benefits of volunteering to meet the needs of vulnerable families as well as providing opportunities for women to develop skills enabling them to return to the workplace.
Brian Waller, Director of Home-Start International, during that time, said:
“We are delighted that Barbara Cluer, Manager of Home-Start Merton, has accepted our invitation to travel to Lithuania as our ambassador and to speak at a top level conference of policymakers about Home-Start and how it could help vulnerable families and children. We have the highest regard for the work that Barbara and her staff and volunteers have been doing with families in Merton over the last 13 years. We hope that her visit will be just the beginning of a link between Home-Start Merton and Lithuania.”

2007/08 – One of 8 H-S schemes selected nationally to be invited to take part in the  Government funded pilot Early Learning Partnership Project.  Barbara Cluer contributed to this process as one of the trainers on ELP training module for volunteers that has now been disseminated to all H-S schemes in the UK

cakeCelebrating 15 years. Our Patron, Trudie Goodwin, cuts the cake.



cityhall04Invited to attend City Hall to meet HRH Princess Alexandra at the H-S “Volunteers Matter” Living Room Event


Brilliant news!  We have been awarded two grants to support our ongoing work:

lotterysmallThe Big Lottery Fund to enable us to employ a Volunteer Recruitment and Development Co-ordinator to take the lead on our Volunteer Programme



The Taylor Family Foundation to support our Self Referral Work


FrontHome-Start Merton opens it’s charity shop in St Helier Avenue. We were the first London scheme to open a charity shop and felt very proud when the Mayor of Merton cut the ribbon. Our first customer was Kevin Ayres, in memory of Trina Ayres, his mother, our office volunteer who sadly passed away. Sadly we had to close our charity shop in 2013

Sharon & Gethin JonesOn the morning of our family Christmas party the manager discovers we have been burgled. 71 wrapped presents had been stolen and the party food had been taken from the fridge. We had two hours before the party started and in true HSM style our staff and volunteer team began to put a plan into action. The local Pizza Hut agreed to provide pizza’s at a reduced cost. Through social media the news went viral. Before the week was out we had people knocking on the door donating gifts along with a total of £10,000  had been donated. The morning television show Daybreak heard about our story and wanted to film some of our families – asking them how they felt. The staff and families arrived at the office very early and at 8am we went live on air. Daybreak very kindly donated a huge amount of Christmas presents which enabled us to give every child an extra special Christmas. Our thanks go to all the kind people who gave so generously.

This year we celebrated our 20th anniversary year along with being chosen as one of The Mayor of Merton’s charities. We held a fundraising dinner and auction at The Wimbledon Tennis Club, which The Mayor, Krystal Miller and her consort attended. We raised £9156.36!!!! The star of the evening was Hugh Edmeades, who gave us his services free, as a highly effective auctioneer. Thank you Hugh.

The fundraising committee and staff worked very hard to raise much needed funds and set a target of £30,000.00 – incredibly we raised over £40,000.00!! This was achieved by a variety of means, including a sponsored head shave, our patron Trudie Goodwin appearing on the TV show Mr & Mrs, the tennis tournament, committed regular donations, sponsored spell by King’s College Junior School and joint Christmas events with Carers Support Merton.

A wonderful year that was also a sad year as Barbara Cluer, manager of HSM fDSCN0549or 20 years decided it was time to retire. Barbara set up HSM and opened the doors on 14 June 1993 and through her hard work and dedication built HSM into what it is today. Thank you Barbara for everything you have done.

January saw the new manager, Sharon Ashby, take up her post. Sharon became a Home-Start volunteer in 2002. In 2004 she became a part time co-ordinator working with Sure-Start families. Over the years Sharon progressed to the senior co-ordinator and then as the manager.

In May,  The Mayor of Merton presented HSM with a cheque for £22,500.00 Volunteer thank you 02.05.14 - Mayors Parlourwhich was a huge boost to our finances.

The Mayor of Merton very kindly hosted a volunteer thank you in May. Our volunteers were invited to the event which was held in the Mayors parlour.

One of our volunteer’s and her husband completed the 10K Great South Run and husband’s firm offered to matched fund!  A fantastic £1000 raised.

Unexpectedly legacy bequest enabled us to replace 4 computers.

Attended the outgoing Mayor’s Annual Ball, as the Mayor is one of our longest serving volunteers.  She raised an amazing amount for her chosen charities.

Website revamped with feedback most encouraging.  Definitely more user friendly but always open for comments on how we can improve this.

“Friends of Home-Start” launched at a “Meet the Brewer” evening!

Our annual Tennis Tournament was the best ever to date. Just over £1000 raised – an amazing amount.

Morden Hall ParkOur sponsored Teddy Bear Walk had to be postponed initially due to the inclement weather, but as so much effort had gone into the training this did eventually take place and incredibly raised just over £2000.  The teddies had a well deserved tea party in Morden Hall Park.

One of our volunteers completed the Royal Parks half marathon for us and raised nearly £1400.  She said it was most enjoyable to see the sites of London with no traffic!

Home-Start founder and life president, Margaret Harrison, CBE, died 16 August


Great news – grant awarded from the Wimbledon Foundation for us to work with families in the East of the Borough.

Sad news – local authority will not be re-commissioning in April. Major changes ahead.

Sadly in March three staff members contracts ended and along with the news that we were not going to be re commissioned, Kathie Oscislawski, Penny Jakana and Joy Ohen left Home-Start Merton. The remaining staff are Sharon Ashby (manager and family support co-ordinator) and Eleanor Shelley (administrator). The trustees had some difficult decisions to make and one of those decisions was to sell our office building at 227 Western Road, where we had been based since 2000. On the 29 April we moved into  Merton Youth Office at Leyton Road.


Great news! The Generation Foundation agree to fund HSM for the next three years (2016-2019)




March saw us welcome  Debbie Magee as our new Family Support Co-Ordinator.

June – On the move again – we can now be found at The Chaucer Centre, Canterbury Road, Morden, SM4 6PX.

July – Successful QA inspection.

November – Our Patron, Trudie Goodwin, participates in the television quiz show “Pointless” on our behalf  and makes it to the final!