As we approach another major election (Bristol Mayoral Elections) we look back at what prompted co-Founder Eva Fernandes to start Baby Bank Network with Becky Gilbert.
“After the general election in 2015, my colleague at Born Becky Ward came to me with the idea of how we could help now that benefit cuts were on the agenda,” said Eva. “With our contacts an knowledge we felt that we could apply what we know of the baby industry to make a difference to families who were having to bring up children with very tight budgets.”
As owner of baby shop Born, which recently closed down, mum-of-two Eva was only too aware of how expensive having a baby can be. She said: “We’ve already helped people to save money by helping them with washable nappies, slings instead of pushchairs and co-sleeping and bed sharing advice. We also knew that the people buying baby stuff could help us by donating their pre-loved baby items when they were finished with them.”
Baby Bank Network co-Founder Becky Gilbert was coming at it from the other side, as a parent with a toddler and a new baby looking for a way to donate items to families who needed them. Eva continued: “I was in touch with the Bristol Re-use project which tweeted that I was looking for storage space, Becky saw that tweet and prepared an email to me. However before I got to read it I bumped into her outside my house and we started chatting and decided we should work together.
“Social media has been instrumental in helping us to find donors and a core team of volunteers who support the every day running of the Baby Bank Network. It’s also been the way we raised the money to pay rent on our storage space.”
Baby Bank Network is now a registered charity which has helped over 150 families in Bristol and aims to help 366 by the end of the year – the equivalent of 1 a day this year.