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Celebrating the women behind the scenes: Meet Lyn

 Lyn Sullivan, Trustee (Service User Representative)

International Women’s Day is a special day here at  Baby Bank Network Bristol! If you were to visit the warehouse, you would find a team of women from different walks of life busily working away, to support families across Bristol with essential items for their children 0-5 years old.

Founded in 2015 by three local women from their kitchen tables (often collecting donations and sorting them in their spare rooms and garages with their babies strapped to their chests), Baby Bank Network Bristol has developed into a vital and respected organisation supporting around 160 families per month.  

Our busy bee volunteers sorting donations and packing orders for families at our warehouse.

Meet Lyn

As a predominantly female-led group of volunteers, trustees and staff, today we are reflecting on our work through the lens of one of our Trustees.  Lyn Sullivan wears multiple hats at Baby Bank Network as both a trustee and referral partner. She has been a tireless advocate for inclusion of women and girls for many years, having been a member of Girlguiding since she was 7 years old, as well as through her career in the Civil Service and NHS. Lyn has two adult daughters and one 2 year-old grandson.

Lyn has worked for the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) as an administrator since 2014. The FNP are a team that support teenage mums throughout pregnancy and until their first child is aged 2, with a 1:1 home visiting programme. The FNP has been one of our referral partners for many years – this means that they assess whether families need our support, and place orders on their behalf. Referral partners also collect from the warehouse and deliver the items to families. 

Working in this role, one of the hardest parts for Lyn is hearing of the challenges that clients have faced in their short lives. However, she says that “working with such an exceptional team of dedicated Family Nurses helping to improve the outcomes for teenage parents and their children is a real highlight for her.

Looking after her toddler grandson has made her think about how hard it must be for young mums that her team work with, who often have no support or good parenting role models. “Raising children is hard work but also so rewarding… the sheer relentless nature of being a parent 24/7 surprised me,” she says. 

Lyn’s team had been regularly referring clients to Baby Bank Network Bristol since 2016, originally placing all of the orders for her team, and picking them up from our warehouse so they could be delivered to clients from the FNP’s office. Lyn has seen the impact that this can have: “On the odd occasion that I have delivered orders to clients, I have seen their excitement and delight at the quality of what they have been given. I know it makes a huge difference to their lives. It takes some of the financial worry away from clients and gives the team a way in the door to connect with our clients.”

 Lyn and our Service Manager Katy promoting our Santa’s Sack Appeal at Asda

In 2021, Lyn joined our Board of trustees as our referral partners representative. Due to Covid restrictions the trustee meetings were online: “I didn’t get to meet my fellow Trustees in person for many months,” she shares. Lyn has enjoyed her work as a trustee since then, working alongside other trustees, meeting the team of volunteers and representing the charity at events. A real highlight for her is seeing the generosity of those who donate, and the standard of donations received. Having Lyn on the trustee board has meant that as a charity we have gained a valuable perspective from one of our referral partners who sees the impact that our service has in communities, and the needs that are there. 

As Lyn prepares to retire and step down from her role as Trustee, she has reflected on the challenges that women still face around inclusion: the pay gap, the career progression after maternity leave and while raising children, and the cost of childcare. However, she has some sound advice for new mothers – “Do what’s right for you and your family. Don’t feel pressured to do what others say. You and your child don’t need everything new, babies grow out of stuff so quickly.” 

One of the aims of  Baby Bank Network Bristol is to reduce the amount of baby equipment and clothes to landfill in order to help the environment, a cause close to Lyn’s heart.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Lyn and all our trustees and volunteers for all that you do for Baby Bank Network Bristol!

More of our busy bees volunteering their time to support families in Bristol.

Want to support or get involved?

  • Join our Great Bristol Run team and take on a 10k, half marathon or family run on Sunday 19 May!
  • Show a Bristol mum you care by sending one of our Mother’s Day e-cards to your mum, grandmother or other special women in your life and make a donation through in lieu of a card and postage.
  • Find out about volunteering with Baby Bank Network Bristol.