South West Community Benefit Fund: Baby Bank Network
About the project
Now in its sixth year with over 5000 referrals, the Baby Bank Network Bristol provides valuable support to local families who are struggling to provide for their young children. During a time of emotional and financial stress, Baby Bank provides pre-loved baby essentials (from cots and pushchairs to clothes and toys) to families in need.
This often includes children in desperate situations. Some have escaped a domestic violence situation or are in emergency housing. They might be in refugee families, or have parents waiting for Universal Credit. Many of them do not have the essentials for sleeping and feeding, let alone the fun and comfort they need to thrive.
Supported by an amazing team of loyal volunteers and a network of referral partners, Baby Bank is driven by a desire to help alleviate child poverty while reducing waste and encouraging families to re-gift items they no longer need. With more than 20 families helped each week, Baby Bank can not only immediately improve the living environment of vulnerable young children, but it also removes a significant financial stress for their parents.
Request for funding
With your grant, Baby Bank Network Bristol were able to provide toiletry packs for babies and new mums for two months. When covid hit, the groups normal service was unable to run, but it became quickly obvious that families were in even more need than before. An emergency service was launched and was soon helping 15 families per week and then 20 families per week! As donations were not able to be taken in, the fund provided meant that the Baby Bank Network could buy in all the toiletries that families needed.
Two types of toiletry kits are available. The baby toiletry kit includes things like nappies, wipes, nappy cream, bubble bath, lotion, nail clippers and flannels. The toiletry kit for mums includes essentials like maternity towels and breast pads, but also niceties like shower gel, hand cream and lip balm. Also included are useful things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and washing powder.
Thanks to the support of the South West Community Benefit Fund 20 kits for babies, 20 for mums, and 25 sets of nappies were provided.
Meeting the aims of the fund
The organisation is meeting the aims of the fund by providing essentials to many of the families in the greatest need in the area. They have a good referral system so that their resources are appropriately donated to those who need them most. They also provide the opportunity for around 85 local people to give their time and to become involved as volunteers.
The purpose of the fund
SWPA work with our members and South West Community Matters to distribute grants of up to £1,000 to local projects and causes. The overall aim of the programme is to increase community facilities and community benefits particularly for those most in need, in local communities.
The focus will be on activities that enable people from diverse backgrounds to become engaged in their neighbourhoods and communities and to support those organisations that are bringing about real change to the lives of the people who live in those communities.