On the 23rd March, Boris Johnson announced that we were to go into lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19. Our warehouse doors were locked, donations of pre-loved items stopped, fundraising events were cancelled and regular giving was reduced. The support we provided to 170 families every month ceased, and many mums and babies sadly went without basic supplies.
But the referrals kept on coming in; lockdown didn’t stop the need for our services and we experienced a surge in demand. It became clear that an emergency response was needed, and by the middle of April we were able to help 15 of the most vulnerable families every week using existing stock and buying in items where necessary. We furloughed Jools, our warehouse manager and so Sarah, our office manager, single-handedly operated this emergency service – this is no mean feat.
Thank you for your support during this time. However you helped us, know that it could have helped a family entertain their toddler in lockdown, might have provided a new mum with fresh toiletries to use after giving birth or possibly provided a baby with a safe and clean mattress to sleep on.
We are now settled into our new normal and helping around 90 families every month. Our warehouse is open albeit with reduced volunteer numbers to make the space for social distancing, donations are being collected, quarantined, sorted and re-distributed and the referrals are coming in thick and fast. Now it is September and the schools have gone back, we hope to welcome back more of our volunteers so we can slowly but steadily get back to where we were before lockdown.
Unfortunately, we have lost considerable income from the cancelation of fundraising events and we don’t expect any will happen this year. We are also expecting a surge in demand as we approach autumn. We are on the verge of a recession and so naturally more families will need our help as more people are pushed towards poverty. These families could be anyone; they could be your neighbours, your friends and your loved ones. They could be you.
Please can you help us?
● We need regular monetary donations to buy the items we cannot provide pre-loved (such as mattresses and bottle teats) and to keep the charity running. If 100 people donated just £2.95 every month for 12 months, 154 children in Bristol could have new, clean and safe mattresses to sleep on.
● Purchase essentials such as nappies and toiletries via our Amazon Wishlist – easy and they are delivered direct to us!
● We also need big-ticket items such as prams and cots. We love to receive bags of clothes and toys, but it is the more expensive items that we receive less of and so desperately need.
● Volunteer with us! You can find out more about how you can help here.
Thank you for all your help and support – your contribution, however big or small, makes a vital difference to so many families in need in Bristol.