After working with the lovely team at The Baby Bank for the last couple of years we thought we'd take a little time out to see what they've been up to recently and how much the pandemic has impacted the local community.
Rebecca and Amy, talk us through why the Baby Bank was set up
The Baby was started in February 2015, as we approach our 7th birthday it's one that is bittersweet. We shouldn’t need to exist but as the numbers show we have increased year on year. 2020 saw our highest numbers on record, into 2021 they continued to increase. 2022 won't be any different.
The Baby Bank was set up in response to what we felt was a need, not everyone has their family or a network of friends to support them, we felt if families were accessing food-banks then they would potentially need items for their children.
We initially provided Moses baskets and simple items but the requests we received meant that fairly quickly we expanded what we offered. In the past few years we introduced a uniform aspect to support families with the high costs of ‘basic’ school uniform items.
How has the pandemic had an impact on the amount of referrals you've received ?
The pandemic has highlighted how many families live very close to the poverty line or below it. This increased our workload 100% but because of generous donations from companies such as Ellas Kitchen, Citrix, Bloomsbury Mill and the Prince Philip foundation amongst others we were able to support families quickly and with what they needed. The pandemic did cause us a few challenges but we figured out solutions- one way markers, masks, sorting tables at opposite sides of the room and more! Whatever it took to get the job done really.
Tell us a little more about what support you were able to provide last year
This is just a snapshot of what we provided in 2021across Berkshire, High Wycombe and down to Hillingdon.
- 3251 children supported
- 1225 pjs packs provided
- 253 Secret Santa sacks with approx 3/4 gifts per child - 383% increase
- 468 adults maternity packs/ maternity clothes/ general toiletries and requests for clothing
- Formula 262
- Baby food 125
- Nappies 1456 packs of nappies with approx a weeks worth
- Toiletries 869 (shower gel, shampoo, sanitary products etc)
- Clothing 1127 bundles prem through to 16yr 35/40 items per bundle
- Uniform 346 referrals (shirt tie etc )
- Double buggy 56 (20 increase )
- Car seat 50 (decreased by 25)
- 302 buggies (increase of 52)
- 2 triplet buggies (1)
- Moses basket 87 (2/3 sheets/blankets)
- Cots/cribs/cotbeds/next to me 631 (554)
- Single bed/bedding 98
- 397 bedding bundles (3 sheets, sleeping bag, blanket if we have)
- 354 Toy bundles
- 76 High chairs
- 308 Stair-gates
- 10,400 approx volunteer hours
- 15 volunteers, 2 ad hoc drivers, (Goodgym 4-6 volunteers week/month)
- Nominated for 5 different community awards
Wow! What a year! These guys really do go above and beyond to support those families in desperate need. It's been an absolute privilege and pleasure to be able to help in some small way with our regular donations of bedding, baby muslins, blankets, sheets and sleep-bags.
We'll continue in our efforts to support the Baby Bank as their need for help grows!