Family support charity Home-Start Hertfordshire is currently receiving twice as many referrals for help and is facing the challenge of raising enough money to continue to operate.

Home-Start Herts supports families in North Herts, Stevenage, St Albans, Welwyn Hatfield, East Herts and Dacorum who have at least one child under the age of five and are struggling to cope, for reasons including disability, poverty, mental illness and multiple births.

Each year, the charity has to bring in about £350,000 to continue to provide this life-changing support, with 27 per cent - £94,500 - usually coming from fundraising and donations.

However, COVID-19 restrictions mean Home-Start Herts has struggled to create and deliver fundraising events and activities essential for its continued operation.

The charity is receiving an average of five referrals a week - almost double the number in March.

Rising to the challenge, Home-Start Herts has created a virtual summer holiday fundraising event, Where in the World?

Participants choose a destination they would like to travel to virtually and, between July 1 and August 31, walk, run or cycle the distance to reach there.

Suzy Moody, the charity's strategic manager, said: “This challenge is not only about raising money to support local families, but also about people’s wellbeing. How many of us are sitting in an office all day, or doing less exercise now, or need a bit of motivation?

"By getting involved, being active and having fun, you will be making a difference to families facing tough times.”

A parent supported by Home-Start Herts, who did not wish to be named, said: “My volunteer, Peggy, has been like a breath of fresh air to me and I can never thank her and Home-Start enough for everything they are doing for the boys and me.

"They’ve not only helped me through one of my hardest times, but they’ve also helped me to start believing in myself that I can be a good mum and, with time, keep growing in confidence and battle with my anxieties.”

Entry is £5 for adults and free for children - you can take part individually or as a team - and entrants will receive a fundraising pack.

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