THE local arm of a charity received praise following a parliamentary debate.

Home-Start Clackmannanshire, which has been supporting families since 1988, was “congratulated and heartily commended” by MSP Alexander Stewart.

The Conservative Mid-Scotland and Fife representative spoke in Holyrood last month to highlight the charity’s work across Scotland.

Following the debate, he said: “It is right and proper that we congratulate Home-Start at every opportunity and I very much welcome the support that the charity has provided over the years to help families with young children build better lives.

I first visited Home-Start Perth back in 1999 when I was elected as Perth & Kinross Councillor, then in 2017, was delighted to have visited Home-Start Clackmannanshire, which indeed celebrated its own 30th anniversary in 2018 and when there, I met with their operations and funding manager, Shelley Bowman.

“I have always been aware that Home-Start relies heavily on volunteers and that the assistance the charity offers is tailored to each family’s individual needs and requirements.”

Through a combination of home visits, group support and play sessions the organisation offers a unique service to provide practical and emotional support to young families.

It is about supporting parents to grow in confidence, overcome obstacles, strengthen their bond with their children and widen community links.

As reported at the time, volunteers were delighted to cut the ribbon on their very own charity shop at Shillinghill in Alloa.

Mr Stewart added: “As many of us know, birth through to school years is a vital time for a child’s development.

“The environment within a family home can strongly determine both the opportunities and the life chances which children are presented with and it is well known that children who are raised in a stable and loving family environment are much more likely to have a more positive and healthy future ahead.

“Home-Start works extremely well in that many of their volunteers are also parents and they absolutely understand how difficult it can be.

“They work alongside parents, in their own homes, helping them to cope with the stresses and strains of life.

“These volunteers make sure the parents have the skills, confidence and strength they need to nurture their children and it is this very support, in which they all excel.

“Home-Start’s work in Clackmannanshire, as well as right across Scotland is to be both congratulated and heartily commended.”