There’s no two ways about it, things move very fast in Baby Bank Network land. From a conversation to helping our first family in a matter of months and filling up our temporary home with donated baby essentials, to helping 100+ babies within our first 6 months to becoming a registered charity a couple of months later.
Baby Bank Network wouldn’t exist without an exceptional level of support from the community and a little thing called Facebook; this was exemplified over the weekend as we put an urgent call out on social media for some larger baby items.
Baby Bank Network volunteer and full-time mum Becky Kay, who spends much of her time helping sort donated items at our temporary home in Southmead put a plea out for cots and buggies, as we had families waiting for these items but we were all out. The social media volunteers rose to the challenge and put a call out for donations of these baby essentials on the official Baby Bank Network Facebook and Twitter pages.
The community then rallied round, helping us spread the word and by the end of the weekend we’d secured 11 cots and 20 buggies, meaning we can help even more families. We knew we had an amazing amount of support out there, we wouldn’t have got this far without it – but this really made us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
“The response has been awesome,” said Becky. “We’ve got offers of prams/buggies from 20 people so far as well as 11 cots and they are already trickling in. Our volunteer Emily, who works at the unit every Monday sorting items, received a gorgeous Bugaboo buggy and McLaren pushchair, both of which we’re lining straight up for referrals – one for a newborn and the other for a one-year-old.”
She added: “This weekend has been a real breath of fresh air. People really getting on board with the call out, reposting on their local Facebook groups, collecting friends’ buggies too, putting in school newsletters and businesses advertising it to their customers – a real collaborative effort.”
Statistics show that 1 in 4 families in Bristol (where the charity was born) is currently living in poverty. Baby Bank Network aims to help tackle child poverty and promote reuse by redistributing baby essentials. It works with almost 100 referral partners across the city to reach babies in need and relies on the generosity of supporters – in the shape of people donating time, skills, items and money.
Becky said: “Needless to say, these items are a huge help to the families we support. Referral partners often say how pleased families are with the prams we provide them. We’d like to thank everyone for their support in helping us to help those in need.”