'THREE years ago, almost exactly a month after I was elected, I visited Home-Start Glenrothes at its base in the Macedonia area of the town. I will always remember the feeling that I had when I walked into the community house, which was one of support and empathy. It was also one of persuasion, because, just a few weeks later, I found myself running the Glenrothes 10k in aid of the organisation and the vital work that it does.

I recently held a members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament about the wonderful work of Home Start Glenrothes and the fact that this year marks their 21st anniversary.

Home-Start Glenrothes was founded 21 years ago. Locally, it trains volunteers and experts to support between 60 and 70 families in the area at any one time. Across the United Kingdom, the organisation’s 13,500 volunteers support more than 27,000 families and 56,000 children. Home-Start works across my constituency to support families who are struggling because of social isolation, poverty or poor mental health. None of us can predict what life will throw our way—whether it be illness, disability or bereavement—and Home-Start works to take the pressure of such factors off families who are in need.

Ahead of my debate, I spoke to our local Home-Start co-ordinator, Lindsey Brown, she told me: 'I’m a great believer that your postcode cannot dictate what your future holds. We work in Glenrothes to give people opportunities. We have two mums who have just completed their college qualifications through a partnership with Fife College and we have four more with interviews next week. I know that this might sound like rose-tinted spectacles—but it really is our job to help them be the best they can be.'

Getting it right for every child starts with organisations like Home-Start. It starts with making tiny changes to support families by teaching them how to cook, for example. It starts by giving parents the knowledge to understand what benefits they might be entitled to. It starts with supporting families that are struggling with poor mental health. Home-Start Glenrothes is based at the heart of the community. The work that it does in Glenrothes and beyond is vital to families in my constituency. I paid tribute to Lindsey Brown in Parliament and to her team of amazing staff and volunteers.

Homestart Glenrothes thrives on the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers and staff who are at its heart. So, I’d like to encourage constituents in the Glenrothes area to get in touch with Home-Start Glenrothes if they would like to play their part in supporting the work of this essential local charity. And to all at Homestart Glenrothes – a very Happy 21st Birthday once again!'