Baby Bank Network, which has helped hundreds of families in Bristol, England, is looking forward to helping even more babies thanks to a partnership with a team of volunteers in Scotland.
Established late 2016, Bairnecessities helps distribute pre-loved baby essentials to families in need in Banff and Buchan, North East Aberdeenshire. It has now joined forces with the Bristol-based Baby Bank Network, which has helped around 500 families since its inception in 2015, to learn how to build and grow the organisation.
Set up by local mum and nursery nurse Helen Feeney, Bairnecessities follows the same model as Baby Bank Network, which collects pre-loved items from local families and distributes them to those in need via a network of referral partners. Referral partners include health visitors, midwives and partner charities including homeless charities, domestic violence shelters and refugee organisations.
Bairnecessities, like Baby Bank Network, is 100% volunteer-run and relies on the generosity of families donating items, money and time to ensure local families can rely on this valuable service.
“Through my work, I have witnessed, first hand, the number of local families who are struggling financially to provide for their children,” said Helen, a qualified nursery nurse and dance teacher. “And through being a mum, I can see such a huge excess in used baby items. I therefore decided to try and make a difference to these struggling families primarily in Banff and Buchan.”
In August 2016, Helen created a small team of volunteers and started collecting items to give to families in need. The team has now partnered with the charity Baby Bank Network to become their first official partner organisation. They aim to tackle child poverty and promote re-use through the initiative, which is similar to a food bank.
According to Save the Children, 17% of children in Fraserburgh and district are living in poverty. “Unemployment and low wages are at the heart of child poverty in Aberdeenshire,” says Helen. “Almost one in five workers in Aberdeenshire are paid less than £7 per hour. Children who grow up in poverty in Aberdeenshire are far less likely to do well at school than their better off classmates, seriously harming their future life chances. Over a third of school leavers from deprived areas go straight into unemployment.”
She added: “Bairnecessities and Baby Bank Network are working together to try and give children the best start in life by ensuring no baby goes without.”
Baby Bank Network Trustee Laura Williams said: “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with Bairnecessities in Scotland. We’ve been able to help hundreds of families in the South West and the plan always was to spread the love to other areas of the UK.
“We’ve been very impressed with what Helen and her team has achieved so far and we’re keen to share all our learnings to help them grow and reach more families in need.”
You can follow Bairnecessities on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bairnecessitiesbabybanknetwork