Baby Basics

Baby Basics is a project which supports disadvantaged parents and families struggling to meet the financial and practical demands of looking after a new baby or young children. Through donations they are able to provide basic essentials and equipment needed to care for a child including clothing, toys and toiletries for both the mother and child.

Helping people with all sorts of needs, including teenage mothers, asylum-seekers and women subjected to domestic abuse the charity has only grown since its 2009 launch in Sheffield.

Baby Basics received a grant of £1,000 from the Henry Boot Charitable Fund and £1,500 from the Henry Boot Community First Endowment Fund for South Yorkshire to help cover core costs and keep running. The grant has also enabled them to move to a much larger and more central location in Sheffield allowing them to accept more referrals and thus help more families.

Whilst the increase in donations since their location change is a positive outcome of the grant, the increase in referrals suggests an increase of deprivation in the area in the past 10 years. With only one full time staff member and only a few part time staff the project relies on its many
dedicated volunteers.

The Sheffield branch works with over 30 agencies which refer families to the project who are in need of their free support. With this project they don’t have direct contact with the families they help, the referees, often midwives, collect and deliver the support packs to the families making the process run smoother.

Cat Ross, Baby Basics CEO, said whilst discussing how many people they help:

“We prefer to get packs to expecting mothers 8 weeks before their due date but as you can imagine that’s not always doable! We often deal with a emergency situations, many during holidays where the office hasn’t been open. We now have packs made up ready to go at any point if they’re needed. For example, we’ve had plenty of mothers who haven’t been referred until their 6 week midwife visit as their situations weren’t known.”

Baby Basics only accept high-quality donations or resources that can be repurposed so the families receive items as good as new and in full working condition. They have a very specific quality checks in place to make sure this standard is ensured for every parcel sent out.

Every Moses basket and cot sent out to families contains a pack of essentials and clothing in a  range of sizes. The packs also often contain upcycled clothing made into blankets or teddies.

Baby Basics aim to have as little waste as possible go to landfill.

Cat Ross, Baby Basics CEO, continued:

“We often have desperate families who are very disadvantaged and living in poverty whose children are very close to being taken into care. We’ve supplied them with toiletries and clothing allowing them to use their funds for food and other necessities meaning children can stay with their families.”

Moving forward, Baby Basics hope to create packages for older children (Five years and over) especially those who go through emergency foster care. As most of the time these children leave families with nothing or very little under difficult circumstances. They also hope to expand their premises further by taking over the floor above in their building  as demand continues to rise.

Cat Ross continued speaking about how they support and work with the agencies who refer families:

“We’ve got such a great relationship with the agencies we work with that if they come in from a stressful day we’re able to offer them a cuppa and a chance to talk before they go back out to work.”