Parenting young children can be challenging, lonely and exhausting, especially for those without family support close by. On the other hand, many people miss regular contact with their family’s youngsters when they live some distance apart.

Cromwell Community House has an opportunity to put the two together with the Young Family Support Programme it is co-ordinating.

Community House manager Karen Palmer said the voluntary service offered practical support to parents of preschoolers in the Cromwell and districts area.

‘‘Volunteers provide support to families in their own homes, offering companionship to parents during difficult times and assisting with household tasks, all in the context of a confidential and nonjudgemental relationship.’’

Families will be matched with a volunteer who would spend two hours in the family’s home each week for a minimum of six weeks. The support offered will depend on the family needs but can include companionship or help with household tasks.

The Cromwell Young Families Collective, a group of 44 family support agencies facilitated by Cromwell Community House, identified the need for the programme.

Families will be referred to the programme by the support agencies. A similar family support programme, coordinated by Community Networks/Link, is available in Wanaka.

‘‘Many of our young families have moved to Cromwell away from their natural support networks and are feeling isolated and lonely. We hope this programme will help to fill this gap in a practical, friendly and supportive way. We want these parents to feel valued and included in our community,’’ Ms Palmer said.

Volunteers will complete police vetting and an induction programme before meeting their families. The programme facilitator will check in with the volunteer and the family on a regular basis.

Anyone interested in being a volunteer can contact Karen Palmer at [email protected] or on 03 445-1690.