A volunteer who helps struggling families is our community hero this week.

Julian Lipton, 50, from Rickmansworth, has been working with Home-Start since 2018.

He is one of the charity’s trustees but spends a lot of his time meeting families who face difficulties.

Home-Start offers support and advice to families who deal with issues ranging from post-natal depression to physical health problems. Many of those who use the service see it as a lifeline.

He said he continues to do the volunteering work because he loves helping the community and says the charity allows him to do that one-to-one.

Julian said he becomes a family friend to many people.

He said: “We spend six months visiting families once a week. A lot of families we work with don’t have people they can talk to, so they tell us what they’re going through.

“We don’t solve the problem but we try to empower the families.”

As well as giving support and advice, Mr Lipton said his responsibilities include listening to people and taking care of children so parents can take a break.

He said: “In this case, you can almost go away and think what you did was not useful. But to them, it made a difference.”

A lot of the families who use the service have children under five, so Mr Lipton emphasises the importance of the welfare of the children.

He said: “It is all about the children and trying to ensure the kids' welfare is at the front of everything we do.

“It can sometimes be stressful as the families are under a lot of pressure but we aim to return a sense of normality.

“I think every child should be given the ability to grow up in a safe environment where they can be nurtured and achieve the best of their ability.”

Mr Lipton also volunteers as a presenter for the The Pulse Hospital Radio, a radio station created for patients.

He said: “In a way, the work I do at the hospital is very similar as we are presenting to patients and giving them a voice and reassuring them that someone is talking to them. We take requests and also make sure we speak to patients.”