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Support for families this Mothers Day (and all year long)

6 March 2016

In celebration of Mother’s day, we are sharing the story of projects that work to support mothers and their children.

Ruth and Jaz, children and families support workers

Ruth and Jaz, children and families support workers

On a quiet industrial road in Birmingham, is one such project. Situated at the top of an old Warehouse is Baby Bank Central. The project, set up in 2014, supports families of young children in need of essential baby items.

The Baby Bank is a partnership project between Birmingham City Church and Karis Neighbour scheme, headed up by Children & Families Worker Ruth. They have received support from the Big Lottery Fund and funding from Grantham Yorke Trust.

Families are referred to the Baby Bank by support workers, health visitors or children’s centres. The people benefitting from the service are often society’s most vulnerable.

Ruth explains:

“Many of the families that come to us are fleeing domestic violence, a lot are refugees. We recently helped a family who were living in their car, all their newborn baby had was the sleep suit it was wearing. Most of these families are described as having ‘no recourse to public funds’ meaning that they are ineligible to claim benefits. There really is no other help for them”

A recent beneficiary of the project is single mother Michelle.

Michelle was forced to move to Birmingham from her home in Devon with her 3 children after fleeing domestic violence, and is heavily pregnant.

“I had to leave my home quickly with my 3 children. All we took with us was the clothes we were wearing and important paperwork. I had nothing for the new baby, and no family or friends for support.

Volunteers at the Baby Bank

Volunteers at the Baby Bank

I was referred to the Baby Bank by my local children’s centre, and they really took care of me. I have everything I need for my new baby, it is one less thing to worry about. They are fantastic people”

As well as taking direct referrals, the Baby Bank is now expanding to support children’s centres. Jaz, a senior family support worker from Handsworth family centre arrives to collect a package for a new mother rebuilding her life:

“I am collecting a follow up package for a mother who was helped by the Baby Bank during her pregnancy. She was trafficked into this country illegally, the baby bank provided equipment and clothing and even a hospital pack of toiletries. Now the baby is older they are supporting her with nappies and clothes for the next size up. It’s just that vital bit of support whilst she gets on her feet”

You can find out more about the Baby Bank, including details of how to donate, by visiting their Facebook page.

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