The Team

Read about some members of our team below.


I started as a Co-ordinator at Home-Start Richmondshire in January 2015. I am delighted to be working for Home-Start as I believe passionately that the work that they do is essential. I am really looking forward to meeting all the volunteers and families.

I have worked in education in various roles for more than 20 years, these include class teaching in primary schools, running a one-to-one numeracy scheme, and teaching English as an additional language working in both the UK and abroad.

I am a country girl at heart and love to spend time walking the dog on the moors or growing vegetables in the garden. I seem to find myself looking after various abandoned animals although I always vow that we are not having any more. I love running, climbing, reading and spending time with my family and friends. I have just started adult ballet classes. I was really nervous about going along but it is really good fun!


I started at Home-Start as Co-ordinator in January 2017. I have managed a few charities across North Yorkshire and Scotland over the last 15 years and I am passionate about the voluntary sector and volunteering. I have worked as a volunteer overseas and I continue to volunteer as a Trustee both with a parent support charity and a County-wide voluntary sector support charity. As part of my volunteer role I am the voluntary sector representative on the North Yorkshire Children's Safeguarding Board.

As I come from a background of working with children and families, both as a local authority Welfare Officer, a self-employed therapist and a charity worker, Home-Start is an ideal combination for me and I hope I can use all my skills to the best advantage for the people we support - and to make sure that Home-Start Richmondshire stays well funded and vibrant into the future.

I am a great-aunt to 15 nephews and nieces and love nothing more than being in their company, playing and learning. I love my rescued dog and am in the process of creating a new home for some rescued hens...I also have dreams of owning a donkey or two. I love my garden when I'm at home but my favourite thing to do is camping and beach walking in Northumberland. When I'm sitting still, I am a prolific jumper-producing knitter and I have recently learned to spin my own yarn so that I can create even more home-made jumpers and blankets for my family and friends!


I am the Administrator at Home-Start Richmondshire and have worked here since the post was created in early 2011. I enjoy being part of the Richmond community and in my 30+ years of living here I am almost a local, albeit with an occasional Mancunian twang.

A parent of four, I can empathise with many of the problems that affect our families, and my mantra is always “There but for the grace of god, go I”. I have great belief in the Home-Start scheme and the results that it strives to produce, both for the families and the volunteers. Many of our volunteers tell me about how they love visiting their families, and the families talk about how they look forward to their volunteer calling round, for a friendly chat with a nice, caring person. Mutually beneficial, it’s not rocket science!

My spare time is filled with family and busy mum stuff; enjoying the little things in life like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with my younger kids on a Saturday night whilst watching rubbish on the TV. I also enjoy nice food, the odd tipple and good company!



I was a teacher for 31 years, initially in Kingston upon Hull and then I relocated to North Yorkshire with my family in 2000. I taught at Risedale Sports and Community College for the last 16 years of my career where I was an Assistant Principal with responsibility for student welfare.

I am married (to Helen) and we have one daughter (Jenny) who is following in her parents’ footsteps and is embarking on a career teaching history in Leeds.

I became a trustee for Home-Start Richmondshire in January 2017 and I am also a heathland and maintenance volunteer for the North Yorks National Park. 



My name is Diane Hammal. I have worked in Children’s Services for 36 years and ten of these years were spent in the Disabled Children’s Service. I was born and educated in Birmingham and after a short residence in Cumbria and Durham, I moved to Richmond in 1968 and have remained in the area since that time. I am married and have four children and five grand children.

Shortly after I retired in March, 2015, I became a volunteer Trustee for Home Start Richmondshire.


I became a Home-Start volunteer following a long career as a Primary School teacher. 'Giving something back' to the community was the main motivation for seeking a volunteering role within Home-Start.

As part of the training all Home-Start volunteers have to attend a preparation course. The course was thorough and I particularly enjoyed meeting other volunteers.

The role of a Home-Start volunteer is interesting, varied, can be frustrating but is very satisfying. As a volunteer you are a friendly person giving practical and emotional support to young families in their own homes. Being welcomed into their lives is a great privilege.

Home-Start volunteers are well supported with help and advice only a scheduled meeting or phone call away.

I really enjoy my role as a Home-Start volunteer; being able to make a difference to a young family is a very rewarding experience.

As well as my Home-Start volunteering role I enjoy holidays, meeting up with friends, going to the cinema, and have recently started lessons to improve my French conversational skills. Keeping fit is an important part of my life. I keep active walking, attending line dancing classes and playing badminton, a sport I have played competitively for many years.


Being “kidnapped” to the North by my husband’s change of career led me to Home-Start as a way of both getting to know the local area/people while utilising my childminding experience of many years to hopefully help others. The ability to get people to open up and thereby see how to help themselves is rewarding to me as well as giving them confidence.

With my three offspring having fled the nest the job gives both purpose and reward when you can see the difference you can make.






I heard about Homestart on BBC Woman's Hour when my children were of school age. But I remember thinking - "I would have loved a Homestart volunteer when my children were little, when I felt isolated, lonely and unsure of my parenting abilities..... I'm going to do that one day." I had some other things to do first but I began volunteering for Homestart East Cheshire in 2012. While living there I volunteered with two families each with different but long-term challenges. I was sad to leave them when it came time to move house, and I still keep in regular touch with one of them. In Homestart Richmondshire I have volunteered with three families, again with varying challenges and situations. I enjoy volunteering and find it really gratifying to see 'the Mums' making progress in their confidence and outlook. It has increased my confidence in being able to communicate better too. I feel well supported by the Homestart team and the training days are excellent. I also love playing with the children!


A young neighbour introduced me to Home-Start who thought I might enjoy it; she was right, as I do!

Newly retired, I considered how to use my extra time and current energy to do something new and beneficial. How little did I know how much benefit I would gain in the process.

From the initial interview, which was more a friendly chat, I have felt a sense of fun with professionalism, warmth with the strength, creativity and determination to help in the most appropriate way for each family’s request.

In a relaxed setting, the prep course enabled me to learn about the scheme, expectations of volunteers, which are realistic and achievable, in a totally experiential way. This supportive tone continues through the regular Supervision and I feel valued and capable.

I support the families by being ordinary and taking the time to listen as well as I can, remembering and following up on interests. By valuing the parents and their children, it seems to help them do that for themselves too and feel supported.

Semi-retirement seems to have reminded me of past interests like music and trying new things so I now sing with the local “Singing for Pleasure” ladies and am learning the ukulele, as well as circle dancing which uses the most gorgeous international music. Being outside is important to me and I get out every morning if possible and walk with a walking group, which seems to be becoming a theatre group. I have become quite a regular at The Station Cinema in Richmond and I love my book group, especially when we have different opinions of a book. I try to be involved with the community with some communal gardening and volunteering in the Primary school. My own garden is lovely too and is awaiting some attention.


I wanted to become a volunteer because I am a parent, I have had several bouts of depression, I have suffered bereavement, have helped my children with their bereavement and have helped a very close family member through some very tough times. I have learned to deal with all of that and I want to give something back to the families I meet and hopefully help.


 My hobbies are walking (when fit!), singing, listening to classical music and watching opera and theatre.