It seems like yesterday that Eva, Becky and Mel formed Baby Bank Network, but it will be a year since the charity (yes, we’re a charity now, in case you didn’t already know) formed last June. It’s been a whirlwind and an adventure, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! To date (the end of February 2016), we’ve helped 135 families.
So what’s next for Baby Bank Network? Well, we’ve come a long way, but we’ve got some big ambitions for 2016. We’re really hoping we can help 365 families in our first 365 days, well 366 this year, thanks to that extra day in February. Can we do it? We hope so. But there’s more to it than hoping, as these cases from around the world – and some closer to home – show.
Generosity around the world
Established in 2009, St Kilda Mums was the first baby bank (that we know of) to rehome new and pre-loved baby goods and nursery equipment to families in need, over on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia. St Kilda’s help over 70 families every week and recently spoke to us to say: “The generosity of the community continues to amaze and inspire us. From parents donating their much-loved baby gear, our tireless volunteers, businesses and tradespeople, it really does take a village to raise a child!” A couple of years later, in 2011, Sydney’s Dandelion Support Network was launched and has currently helped over 2350 families, donating over 580 cots, 715 pushchairs and 3935 clothing packs! Impressive stuff!
Over here in the UK, Surrey’s Stripy Stork has been going for two and a half years now, and has responded to over 1200 requests for help. Nicola Dawes explains that as well as responding to regular requests for help we also run seasonal campaigns: “We put together pamper packs for 60 mums on Mothers Day, ran a book bag campaign (in conjunction with Comic Relief) to ensure each delivery in 2016 includes a bag of age-appropriate books, our ‘Santa Stork’ Christmas campaign saw us deliver gift bags filled with brand new toys to 500 children and 300 of their parents.” Having recently moved into their ‘new nest’ with an office over 2000 sq ft in size, Nicola says Stripey Storm are aiming to respond to 1000 requests for help in 2016. Good luck everyone!
Back in Bristol
We’re not the only charity in Bristol dedicated to helping those in need though. There are numerous food banks across the city and beyond.
And it’s not just food banks. The Bristol Big Give is an annual student move-out collection and recycling campaign run by the universities which donates unwanted goods to charity. Collaborating with University of the West of England (UWE) and Bristol City Council, the University of Bristol collected 88 tonnes of donated items from students with a value of £180,000 during summer 2015, raising vital funds for over a dozen local and national charities including the British Heart Foundation.
The generosity of the people in Bristol continues to amaze us. And, for us achieve our ambitions and help 365 families in Bristol within a year, we need you to keep being amazing! We need quality donations, which we’ve received in abundance so far and have thoroughly enjoyed looking through, packing up and passing on. And we need your time, skills and money to make sure we can collect and sort donations and get them to the people that need them, are reaching out to people through social media and events and that we have the resources to buy new items like mattresses and bottle teats. If you’re interested in finding out how you could help us help Bristol families in need, have a look at our volunteering page or see how you can help us fundraise.