So, here we are – three months in. On June 11th, Baby Bank Network Bristol launched by taking on a unit kindly donated to us free of charge by The Big Yellow Self Storage Company in St Philips. But as with many, many worthy ventures which start in Bristol (e.g. Sustrans and Deki) the reach extends far beyond the former Avon area.
We consciously took the decision to create a non-location specific umbrella organisation – Baby Bank Network – with a view to, eventually, changing the lives of families across the UK. And that ambition remains.
We have concentrated our initial efforts on our home city of Bristol – where there is a great need and because this is where we live, so we know the networks. By getting our set up right, learning as we go and developing seamless processes we hope to be able to support others who want to set up Baby Banks across the UK.
And we’ve already done this with our first affiliate – Baby Bank Exeter. They joined us on this journey within the first month and we’ve been sharing information, resources and ideas – something we hope to do with lots more local Baby Banks under the Baby Bank Network banner.
But while we’re still in our infancy, with a small but dedicated team of volunteers, we must focus our efforts on the task in hand – knowing that the more ambitious ideas will come later.
Due to fantastic generosity we quickly filled our Big Yellow Space with donations so we have had to temporarily stop taking donations of clothes, single pushchairs, cots and moses baskets as we are still desperately searching for bigger storage space (we’d love to hear from you if you can help with this!) It shows us the speed with which we have the potential to grow, but also highlights the limitations of what we can do without major financial backing and brilliant volunteers.
For the time being, we’re predominantly focusing on helping families in need with babies under the age of one. We’ve received around 15 referrals in August, the first month we have been able to fulfill request and this number will only grow and grow as more Health Professionals become aware of us. We’d love to eventually be in a position where we’re helping all babies and toddlers as well as pregnant mums with maternity wear but we don’t have the storage space or capacity to deliver this at the moment. We have no doubt that, one day we will.
If you can help, or would like to get involved, please email email@example.com
Our fundraising team is working hard to try and ensure the extra funding needed to develop Baby Bank Network further; our donations and referrals volunteers are working extra hard to ensure we meet the demand in a timely manner and free up more space in the unit for more donations; our press and social media teams are spreading the message to help reach people in need as well as potential volunteers and, crucially, people who may be able to help us with more storage space.<