Food & Drink

Dorset Tea and Home-Start Wessex announce continuation of 'Communi-Tea' partnership

Home-Start Wessex volunteers enjoy a tea break on a recent training course

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: February 29, 2024 | Updated: 29th February 2024

Home-Start Wessex has announced it is delighted after Dorset Tea confirmed it would continue the ‘Communi-Tea’ partnership in 2024.

The partnership will see a further £5,000 poured into the charity, allowing it to continue its volunteer programme and reach families in need across Wessex with 1:1 support.

It costs approximately £900 on average to help one family for a period of 6 months, with this funding supporting five local families.

Home-Start is a voluntary organisation that offers support, friendship, and practical help to disadvantaged and vulnerable young children and their families.

Many of these families are going through a time of crisis due to issues such as poor mental health, postnatal depression, disability, domestic abuse, bereavement, isolation, low income, or inadequate housing and need support for a period of at least six months.

This donation comes at a crucial time, after its sister charity organisation, Home-Start West Dorset, closed, and Home-Start Wessex stepped in to extend its reach to cover communities in the West Dorset area, including Dorchester, Weymouth, Portland, Bridport and Lyme Regis.

The charity recruits and trains volunteers to provide 1:1 support in the home – with strong evidence for the value of preventative, peer-led support for families in the early years. Alongside money, these families need emotional and practical support to cope.

The charity’s Administration and Community Liaison Officer, Claire Collins, also happens to be the granddaughter of Dorset Tea’s founder, Keith Spicer – and has always recognised the importance of a good cup of tea. She said: “a cup of tea is often crucial to creating trust and connection.”

Home-Start UK’s CEO, Peter Grigg, even highlighted the power of a cup of tea in a recent speech: “Tea is a massive part of the Home-Start model. How many people in your life know how you like a cup of tea? It’s people who you trust to share your personal preferences with. We know how people like their tea, we know what sort of support families need.”

Kathy Fryatt-Banks, CEO of Home-Start Wessexsaid: “We are so proud to be working in partnership with Dorset Tea, especially following our expansion into West Dorset.

“Our joint aims are about bringing communities and people together, and the support through Dorset Tea and the Harris Freeman Foundation means we can do just that.

“Over the next 12 months, we aim to recruit and train more volunteers across Dorset, who in turn will be able to provide more of the vital support that is needed for local families.”

Lauren Forecast from Dorset Tea added: “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Home-Start Wessex and support a local charity that has such a positive impact on the community.

“Their tireless efforts to support parents and children are essential, and we are honoured to contribute to their important work – with both funding and, of course, tea!”

The charity’s mission is to give children the best possible start in life by supporting parents so they grow in confidence, strengthen and enjoy their relationships with their children, and widen their connection with the local community.

“They provide early intervention to help families tackle their problems, preventing their situation from deteriorating and reducing the need to bring in statutory help. /

For further information on the volunteer training, email [email protected].

Dorset Tea is encouraging charities and local causes to get in touch as part of its ongoing ‘Communi-Tea’ initiative. Email [email protected] to find out more.


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