Project ProfileAn evaluation of Home-Start Manchester South

The research was funded and undertaken by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) between January 2013 and July 2014. The overall aim of the research was to evaluate the work undertaken by Home-Start Manchester South (HSMS) for the year 2013-2014.

The research is based on focus groups with volunteers, seven interviews with families, telephone interviews with HSMS board members, database evaluation, an online questionnaire with referrers from a range of service providers, and fieldwork at training events. One member of the research team attended a HSMS evaluation event held in Withington. The research team is located within the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care at MMU.

Principal InvestigatorJenny Fisher

  • Start Date1 January, 2013
  • End Date1 July, 2014
  • Funding£5,000
  • Funded byRIHSC

Project TeamProfessor Rebecca Lawthom, Professor Hugh McLaughlin, Dr Zinnia Mitchell-Smith, Teresa O’Neill

Projects Aims

  1. To explore the kinds of families and communities that the organisation provides support for
  2. To explore how families are referred to Home-Start Manchester South
  3. To find out who are the volunteers for Home-Start Manchester South
  4. To evaluate the effectiveness of Home-Start Manchester South in meeting the needs of the families it works with.


Project completed and report finalised. Event held on 12 November 2014 and animation made.


O'Neill, T., Mitchell-Smith, Z., Fisher, J., Lawthom, R. and McLaughlin, H. (2014) "'The Spice of Life': An evaluation of Home-Start Manchester South", Manchester Metropolitan University

Executive Summary

Home-Start Manchester South (HSMS) provides an invaluable support for families across South Manchester.

  1. Current service users of HSMS reported that the organisation provides a high level of support and wanted the service to continue to provide ‘more of the same’.
  2. Volunteers are trained to a high level and are committed to the values of the organisation.
  3. Health visitors are the main referrers of families to the service and highly commend the support provided by the organisation for families experiencing difficulties. They reported a very positive experience of the referral and administration processes.
  4. Processes implicit to HSMS may need more clarification for volunteers and families. For example, how the volunteer support is reviewed and what happens at the end of HSMS support.
  5. Since December 2013, HSMS have made significant efforts to raise their profile with partner organisations, key stakeholders and communities, notably in the Manchester Central electoral constituency.
  6. The number of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) families being supported or awaiting a match with a volunteer has increased.

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