The Princess of Wales has given her backing to baby banks across the UK today to shine a light on the crucial support they provide for families with babies and young children.
The Princess met with the inspiring women who run Sebby’s Corner Baby Bank in Hertfordshire, Cwtch Baby Bank in South Wales, Hartlepool Baby Bank in County Durham, High Peak Baby Bank in Derbyshire and Little Stars in Shropshire.
During the visit at Sebby’s Corner in Barnet, The Princess heard how there is a rising demand for the services baby banks provide amid the cost of living crisis and the need is even greater heading into winter and the festive season.
Poverty puts tremendous pressure on parents which can affect babies’ and children’s development. Living in poverty can make it harder to provide the essentials, the experiences, and opportunities that children need to develop and thrive.
In addition to providing essential items such as nappies, cots and clothing, baby banks have become real lifelines in their local communities. Many of them, thanks to dedicated volunteers and staff, have created warm and caring spaces where parents can seek support for their little ones and themselves. They are also environmentally sustainable as everyone involved in baby banks, both giving and receiving items, is playing a role in reducing landfill waste.
The baby banks are all members of the newly formed Baby Bank Alliance, founded by Save the Children, Little Village, Purposeful Ventures and Baby Bank Network Bristol.
The Baby Bank Alliance is forming to provide a network of support to baby banks, so they can come together as one voice and boost the impact of the incredible work they are doing to support families across the country. The Alliance wants to ensure that all baby banks can access the funding, goods, volunteers and practical support they need to be the most effective they can be.
The Princess’s visit today kickstarted an initiative from The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to provide support to families with young children in the run up to Christmas. The Centre for Early Childhood will be encouraging members of the public to donate funds, products and pre-loved items, or to volunteer their time, to support their local baby banks throughout December.
Hannah Pentith, Lead of the Baby Bank Alliance, said:
“We know it’s going to be another tough Christmas for families with babies and young children. Our mission at the Baby Bank Alliance is to support UK baby banks doing incredible work in their communities to ensure that every child has the essentials they need to thrive. We are thrilled The Princess is backing baby banks and grateful for the support of The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.”
Bianca Sakol MBE, CEO and founder of Sebby’s Corner, said:
“We were honoured to host The Princess at Sebby’s Corner and showcase the work we do as an essential service for families in need. With Christmas just around the corner it is a very stressful time for families, and we hope to relieve some of this to bring them some much-needed Christmas joy. We are delighted The Princess helped us to decorate our Christmas Pop Up Shop as we prepare to support hundreds of families this festive season.”
Kirsty Jackson, CEO of High Peak Baby Bank, said:
“It’s an amazing opportunity for our baby bank to be recognised today, along with all the hard work our volunteers have done over the years. I never imagined my little project would become an integral service with four branches, but it shows how desperately a resource like this is needed. We are all incredibly excited to be a part of the Baby Bank Alliance.”
Alison Greig, trustee of Cwtch Baby Bank, said:
“Cwtch Baby Bank is delighted to be part of the Baby Bank Alliance so we can drive forward the important work of baby banks to support families in need across the United Kingdom. It is fantastic to be recognised for our work by the Royal Foundation and The Princess.”
Leanne Simcoe, founder of Little Stars, said:
“Since starting Little Stars in 2020, I could never have imagined three years later I would have the honour of meeting The Princess to talk about the work we do in Shropshire. It was invaluable to tell The Princess about the positive impact we are making on families, the growing need for our services, and the challenges we face.”
Emilie de Bruijn, chair and founder of the Hartlepool Baby Bank, said:
“Today has been a fantastic opportunity for the public to learn about baby banks; what we do, who we help and how everyone can support theirs. We are so grateful to represent North-East baby banks before The Princess.”