Baby Basics was originally set up in Sheffield, by a Lead Midwife working displaced people groups. She noticed that clients were often struggling to get the things they needed. There were stories of women humiliated because they couldn't afford sanitary wear after birth, of children without shoes, and women forced into situations of exploitation.
Working with a local community and church, families began sharing and passing on clothing and baby essentials for those who needed them. This grew into a clothing bank where midwives and health visitors could request equipment for their clients, and there are now branches all over the UK.
Our branch in Dyffryn Clwyd runs through our Facebook group, where we can ask our community for items we need most. We receive regular donations of all kinds of baby essentials, bits for mum or family, as well as some little extras.
Generally our packs are made up of donated second-hand items. This benefits environment and community, creating a sense of friendship through passing on items that local little ones have outgrown, and reducing the amount that needs to be bought new.
One of our patrons donated some beautiful handmade cross-stitched cards to go with our baby packs. We have received stunning donations of hand-knitted winter wear and home-stitched blankets, and we even sneak in treats like a big bar of chocolate.
As well as baby packs, we put together labour bags for those giving birth. They include nightgowns, slippers, bottles, toiletries, towels, socks and similar. Overall these can cost around £ 25 to make up, so we set up a scheme for our donors to sponsor a labour bag over the Christmas period. This also helped us to reduce contact at drop-off points and collections during the pandemic.
Many of our donations are made via drop off points in the community. One of these is our local Morrisons supermarket. We also receive donations from these businesses, such as breast pads and cotton pads from the local Sainsburys. These donations are useful as of course some items just cannot be re-used. By partnering with locally based businesses we can make donating easier for the community, and increase awareness of what we do.
What have you learnt that others will find most useful?
- Asking local businesses to get involved can be really successful. Big companies like supermarkets have resources to share and CSR programmes, meaning they are often happy to make donations of items to a local cause.
- Another benefit of working alongside businesses is their space. We set up collection points at supermarkets which are a great opportunity to raise awareness to the Dyffryn Clwyd community about what we do, while streamlining our donation process so that donors can give things while they shop.
- Being part of a network across the country helps raise the profile of Baby Basic Dyffryn Clwyd, but it's the community itself that makes it all happen. Such wonderful handmade donations accompany the pre-loved essential items all recipients need. These really bring our baby packs together with a sense of love and community spirit.
Measures of success?
Read more: https://baby-basics.org.uk