By Catherine Brennan (Trustee)
What does being a trustee of Baby Bank Network (BBN) mean to me? It means a lot to be part of BBN and its valuable work. It gives me an overwhelming feeling of pride for all that BBN does to help families in need. I am privileged to be a part of it.
Bristol is a beautiful city, home to hundreds of thousands of people from a vast array of cultures, backgrounds and socio-economic demographics, all doing what they can to get by. Some people have more than others, and sadly childhood poverty is rife in the city. Some parents don’t have the essentials they need to raise their young families and the help and support provided by BBN can make such a difference.
As a mum of two young children (my youngest is 8 months old), I’m personally aware of how challenging parenting can be, especially in the first few months following birth. It can be challenging on many levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. For parents having a baby during lockdown, these challenges have been intensified due to Covid-19 concerns making what can be a daunting and stressful time worse.
For example, Covid related restrictions during birth in hospital; limited contact from the local health visitor; limited GP postnatal checks and fewer opportunities to meet other mums and build a support network through mum and baby groups and local community groups. Job losses, the furlough scheme, fewer work opportunities and rising unemployment could have increased existing financial pressures on families too, making our services even more vital to families in Bristol. We are so proud that BBN’s swift mobilisation of the emergency referral service during lockdown ensured that the most vulnerable families in need continued to receive BBN’s support.
We live in unprecedented times with covid restrictions and local lockdowns continuing and a recession looming. Both the extra demand for BBN’s services and the need for BBN to continually adapt to meet changing BBN user needs can surely only increase over time. I feel privileged to be part of the BBN team in fulfilling its work. The amazing ideas, enthusiasm and commitment shown by our volunteers, staff and trustees at our recent trustee strategy meeting make me feel excited for BBN’s future and inspired to keep striving to enhance BBN’s services.
We are always keen to hear from people who think they can help us make a difference to families in need. That could involve donating items, volunteering at our warehouse, helping us with fundraising, becoming a regular donor (through our buy us a coffee campaign) or even helping us fill one of our board vacancies. Please get in touch if you need more info by emailng us at firstname.lastname@example.org