Generous Gidea Park shoppers donate to new Havering baby bank
- Credit: The Baby Bank HQ
A Havering woman has launched a new baby bank for struggling mothers in order to provide families living in poverty with clothes and toys.
Founder of The Baby Bank HQ Kelly, who would prefer to only use her first name, set up collection bins in Gidea Park Co-op supermarket with Claire Saunders on April 3 so shoppers could donate new and preloved items to people in need.
The 42-year-old told the Recorder the bin filled up in just two hours: “Acts of kindness, no matter how small, in my opinion are never wasted.
“I am an individual who is passionate, determined, driven and who cares enough to help.
“If our project can help others and make a small difference to local families, I have achieved my purpose.”
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A baby bank is similar to a food bank, except it provides baby and children's clothes, toys and equipment for families unable to afford these items.
More than one million of the over four million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of five, according to Little Village, one of the UK’s largest baby banks.
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Research from the End Child Poverty coalition showed London’s East End had the highest percentage of child poverty in the UK, with Newham and Barking and Dagenham among the boroughs with the highest rates in 2018/19.
Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic has led to low-income families reporting a deterioration in their living standards and financial situations, a report by the Child Poverty Action Group concluded.
In 2019 Kelly launched a Coat Campaign with her partner asking local parents to donate unwanted coats for families in need.
She said the initiative collected 200 coats in total.
Spurred on by her success, Kelly’s latest venture plans to provide items required from pre-birth to 10-year-olds.
Kelly is now trying to organise a referral system, based from the Brittons Centre, Havering Adult College, which would ensure the donations are delivered to the right people.
She is also hoping to expand to Elm Park and Thurrock.
Leader of Havering Council Damian White added: “We were pleased to be able to donate a bin to enable Kelly to set up a baby bank collection point, and we will be donating some more bins in future as the scheme expands.
“As Havering runs a real nappy scheme, where parents can apply for a free sample pack of cloth nappies, as well as facilitates school uniform swap shops, the baby bank fits in with our aim to support projects that both avoid waste and benefit the local community.
“We look forward to promoting the baby bank at future waste reduction roadshows."
Donations to the baby bank can be made at Co-op Food, 378 - 392 Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, Romford, RM2 5TD
Find out more on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheBabyBankHQ/