A MOTHER of two from Winchester is being featured on a TV programme highlighting voluntary work.

Jess Barker, 24, will appear as part of ITV’s Million Minutes campaign, designed to boost volunteering, which will air on GMTV in December.

She volunteers for Home-Start Winchester, having first been referred to the charity at the age of 17.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Jess being filmed by ITVJess being filmed by ITV (Image: Home-Start Winchester)At the time she was pregnant and living with her mum and boyfriend, and was struggling with ADHD and depression. She was matched with a volunteer from the charity, Kay, who met her for weekly visits.

Jess’s confidence grew week by week and she eventually enrolled in collage, undertaking a motorsports mechanics course after Kay introduced her to the 15 hour childcare funding scheme.

Jess said: “I was confident, capable, I had a network of friends and I was doing a course in a subject I’d always been interested in. For over 18 months Kay was a huge support to me. It’s hard to describe how much she helped me. When she told me one day that I no longer needed her, I cried. It felt like I was losing a family member. As much as I was devastated to see her go, I knew she would be moving on to another mum who needed her as much as I did.”

With a new partner, Jess fell pregnant with her son and once again Kay was able to lend a hand to the young mum.

Home-Start enrolled Jess onto the nurturing programme, which focused on teaching parents about positive parenting.  She then completed Home-Start’s wellbeing course and helped to create a handbook for future students and has begun to develop her own business as a mobile mechanic.

Having completed her safeguarding training, she will be volunteering at one of the charity’s family groups.

Hampshire Chronicle: Jess at workJess at work (Image: Home-Start Winchester)Jess said: “Volunteering also gives me the chance to say thank you for everything Home-Start did for me. They gave me the confidence to create the life I wanted and I’m now in a position where I can help other mums deal with whatever life throws at them. It’s hard to comprehend how life would have been if Home-Start hadn’t been involved. I was feeling overwhelmed by life and Home-Start helped me find a way through it.”

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Liz Stannard, service manager for Home-Start Winchester, said: “We raise 90 per cent of our own funding every year and the demand for our services just goes on growing.

“Please do get in touch with me if you would like to become a volunteer or to join our Friends Scheme to help us guarantee struggling young families that we will be there to help them through life’s challenges.”

More information about Home-Start Winchester can be found by visiting home-start-winchester.org.uk.