Home-Start Worldwide International Conference 2022

Hosted by Home-Start Malta

This November Kieran, our Dad Matters Operations Manager for the Dad Matters project, had the opportunity to travel to Malta to Join Home-Start Worldwide at their international conference. Here is his account of this amazing experience.

Just a few months ago, I spoke to Kirpal from Home-Start Worldwide about our innovative and transformative work with dads in the perinatal period. We shared our project and vision with Home-Start schemes from a number of countries, and I felt we had built some really good connections there. Following on from that I was contacted by Joan, from Home-Start South Africa, who was really interested to find out if we had the capacity to attend a conference in Malta to speak in person about our work.

After making sure there were funds in place from the organisers, and that I had babysitters available at home, I was really fortunate to be able to attend for 2 days, and deliver a presentation to delegates from around the world.

I spoke about how our work is embedded and rooted in the wider work of Home-Start Schemes, yet looks and feels different for the benefit of dads in the perinatal period. I explained how we approach the work we do, how we have developed a model that works for more dads, and how we measure the impact we have.

I shared with the conference the case study video from one of our volunteers, Mike, where even with the challenges of understanding his broad Bolton accent the delegates were moved at how deeply the support from Dad Matters UK impacted his wellbeing. There were plenty of questions and comments about the powerful message within this case study, and within the others on our YouTube channel. You can watch it here!

The amazing part of this conference was that I had the opportunity to speak to a range of Home-Start professionals from across the world.

Along with colleagues from Home-Start UK, this list also included Home-Starts from The Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Replublic, Norway, Malta, France, Quebec (Canada), Australia, South Africa, Japan and others.

I heard from research and evaluation leads in the Netherlands and South Africa, from supporting parental contact in the Czech Republic, from Norway’s team of data collection experts, from the Republic of Ireland team’s projects around delivering activities.

It was truly inspiring to hear that the work of Home-Start across the world is reaching those families that are often left unreached, and unsupported. The ethos of Home-Start, and Margaret Harrison’s vision, really oozed out of every conversation, project and person as an integral part of what we all strive to deliver.

Going forward we want to organise a webinar, or series of webinars, to support Home-Start Schemes to understand why and how the Dad Matters project differs from and innovates within the traditional Home-Start model, and what the benefits are for Dads, Home-Starts and the wider pathways of professionals.

Here is my final video before leaving Malta and my thoughts about the experience

In the future, who knows, maybe Dad Matters Worldwide could be a thing…

With thanks to

Home-Start Worldwide

Home-Start Malta

Home-Start HOST

Home-Start UK