Recently, Silver Cross teamed up with Baby Basics UK to launch a unique initiative to help vulnerable families. As part of our Premium Valet and Service initiative, people have the option to send in their used Silver Cross pram or pushchair for a free valet and service. It will then be passed on to baby bank charity Baby Basics UK, who donate it to a family in need. Here, we talk to the charity’s CEO Cat Ross about why such donations are needed more than ever.
Baby Basics was founded in Sheffield in 2009 to support vulnerable families in the area.
Tell us about the work Baby Basics does.
Baby Basics has been working since 2009 to support vulnerable families with essentials for life with children from pre-birth to five years old, but the pandemic has brought the need for our work to another level. We are a highly respected and trusted partner for health and social care professionals, both from statutory services and the voluntary and community sector, who refer families to us for support.
Who do you support?
Many of the families we support are struggling to find work that fits with family life or are working families on low incomes and just can’t manage to make ends meet. Many families who have accessed our services over the last 16 months have had to for the first time and it was a position they never thought they would find themselves in.
When you have a child, you never ask to be in a position that you can’t provide for them, but situations out of their control such as a rise in the cost of living, unemployment, domestic abuse, seeking asylum or low wages make life with their families a constant struggle.
We believe in empowering these families, lifting the stress and anxiety of how they are going to provide and enabling families to flee domestic violence and raise their children in a safer environment.
Provisions of clothing, nappies, toys, a safe place to sleep and toiletries for the whole family means they can prioritise what little they have on housing costs, food and heating.
But we couldn’t provide for the thousands of children and families we support without the committed help of the public, our corporate supporters and our funders. Donations of new and quality second-hand goods allows us to bless these families with items that show them they are valued, loved and that just because they are struggling it does not mean they do not deserve the best we can give them.
Over 23,000 children and their families were supported in 2020.
How has the pandemic impacted the support Baby Basic gives?
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the needs of many people in the UK, not least those with new babies and toddlers.
In 2020 we supported over 23,000 children and their families, an increase of over 175% nationally. Our inaugural centre in Sheffield at the height of the pandemic was working with a 400% increase.
Sadly, the economic impact of the pandemic is going to be very long lasting. As restrictions are eased and the economy begins to open up again, we believe we are going to see more families out of work and more families battling to lift themselves out of the poverty trap they have slipped into, and more families having to make difficult choices of whether to feed and clothe their children or heat their house.
As furlough comes to an end and the phasing out of the Universal Credit £20 uplift begins many families will begin to worry more about how they will make ends meet, and if they haven’t had to already, many will now need the support of Baby Basics.
How can people get involved in helping the charity?
The UK is very much more aware of food banks and the increase in need they have seen, with many more people needing to access their services to feed themselves and their families.
If you are reading this and feel inspired to help even just one family, please get in touch with your local Baby Basics centre or with Baby Basics UK. Or, with Silver Cross’ stroller donation scheme, you can donate a used pram to Baby Basics in support of families who do not have the funds to buy one.
Every item of clothing, cot, toy, stroller and pack of nappies given, every penny donated, makes such a difference to the lives of so many families. If we all do our part, we truly can make life a little better for families in our community.
What’s next for Baby Basics?
Financial donations allow us to keep our services running. From opening new Baby Basics centres, ensuring every moses basket, cot and cot-bed has a new mattress, giving every child a new toy at Christmas and constantly growing and developing our services to better meet the changing needs of families.
Our hope and dream for the future is that baby banks become extinct. That children and families are no longer struggling to obtain the basics for life. But until that day we are committed to be there for families through our Baby Basics centres, which are run by the local community.
We couldn’t provide for the thousands of children and families we support without the committed help of the public, our corporate supporters and our funders.