Kent carer writes hit kids book

Friday, 24 February 2017


Kent carer writes hit kids book as thank you


A carer from Kent is repaying the charity that helped him land a university place by penning a fundraising children’s story.

Sales of Martin Broom’s Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse will benefit family support charity Home-Start Medway.

The 50-year-old from Gillingham was a volunteer with Home-Start Medway before embarking on his Master’s degree in Advanced Child Protection.

Martin said: “Home-Start Medway staff wrote the kindest reference for my university interview, subsequently I got on to my chosen Master’s degree course.

“To say thank you to the staff I wrote Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse to promote the fantastic work Home-Start Medway do for families with children under five years of age.”

Home-Start is one of the leading family support charities in the UK.

Through the charity around 16,000 volunteers support 30,000 families and 60,000 children to help transform their lives.

Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse tells the magical story of a small Irish mouse from Ireland who is forced to leave home.

Since its release it has reached number three in Amazon’s animal book charts.

Martin said: “Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse is about a small mouse who, through heartache, must leave his home.

“Along the way he makes several friends, gets married and finds the courage to see things through.

“Shamus Reilly is a small mouse, smaller than most, but his heart is big and kind.

“Maria, his wife, was the only daughter of a restaurant owner.

“Together they enjoy some fantastic adventures.”

Martin’s inspiration for Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse came from discovering mice in his house.

The success of the book has led the father of three writing a sequel.

He added: “People who have read Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse, even the children, have been very positive with their feedback.

“I am currently three-quarters the way through the second book.

“It hopefully will not take too much longer, then it is a matter of doing the new illustrations.”

Martin is donating £1 from the sale of every copy of Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse to Home-Start Medway

For more information go to Amazon and search for Martin Broom, where the Kindle and paperback versions of Shamus Reilly, Little Mouse are available.


Job Opportunities x 2

Looking for a new challenge?

Financial Fitness Project Administrator : 25 Hours Per week

  • To provide specialised administrative support to the Financial Fitness project to enable development and expansion of the project.
  • To provide general administrative support across Home-Start Medway as required.

Job Description

Application form

Please return the completed application form to:

Family and Volunteer Support Worker : 25 Hours Per week

  • To support families by providing a home visiting service
  • To provide support to the core service of Home Start Medway
  • To actively recruit, train and support volunteers
  • To assist with the efficient administration of the Home-Start Medway Office

Job Description Family and Volunteer Support Worker

Application form

Closing Date 30.01.17



Exciting News For Financial Fitness thanks to the Big Lottery Fund


Home-Start Medway is excited to announce it has been awarded Big Lottery Funding to support families in Medway to improve their Financial Situation.  The programme called Financial Fitness has been running as a pilot with the support of mhs homes and Santander. Due to the success of the project, it can now be rolled out across Medway to support more families wanting to get their finances in shape, thanks to the award from the Big Lottery Fund.

Gill Valentine, Scheme Manager at Home-Start Medway said, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us.. We have been supporting families with emotional and practical help for nearly thirty years through volunteer home visiting. However we have identified from our supported families that the financial demands placed on families can have a huge impact on the ability to cope day to day. The Financial Fitness Programme enables us to offer another avenue of support to our families, improving their confidence, knowledge and understanding, as well as enabling and supporting these families to take control. Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund we will be able to continue and expand this service to support more families across Medway.’

Project Lead, Anna Costello-Mannering says, ‘The project came about from our existing family support work; we ask families how they cope in all aspects of parenting and finances were the main causes of stress and worry. The programme allows us to help families to reduce this stress and improve their relationships by helping them get their finances in order.  Some parents often face financial difficulties, this could be due to a number of reasons such as reduced income after a new baby, the increased and unpredictable spending involved in family life or issues such as post-natal depression or mental health conditions.  Many of our service users also face benefit caps therefore it is vital to understand the importance of budgeting as the implementation of Universal Credit will come in soon for families.

Support can be offered to parents who have children under the age of 5 who live anywhere in Medway and is completely free of charge.  Appointments will be held at local venues such as Children’s Centres or the Home-Start office in central Gillingham.  Specially trained volunteers work with families to achieve their own individual outcomes.

Sarah one of Home-Start’s Financial Fitness Volunteers reports ‘I have seen first-hand the difference it can make from meeting a parent scared and in hardship, not even able to face opening their bills and supporting them to the point where they can come in and make phone calls to resolve issues, opening their letters and making notes and being able to amend their own budget when their finances change.  It gives them the confidence and ability to know they can manage their own finances moving forward, this really is life changing for some parents.’

Activities as simple as creating a budget will be introduced to ensure families are making best use of their income.  The project will look at reducing expenditure and maximising income and checking if families are receiving the correct benefits, discussing outgoings etc.  Families with debt issues are supported to get a clear picture of their situation and identify priority debts; where specialist debt advice is needed referrals are made to partnership agencies who can offer formal debt solutions.

Anyone interested in accessing support for themselves or professionals wanting to refer a family can contact us.  This number can also be used for anyone interested in finding out about the fantastic volunteering opportunities available at Home-Start Medway.


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