By Richard Liddle
Leeds Baby Bank has launched a Christmas appeal to help provide extra support to families over the festive period.
The Baby Bank was set up in January 2017 in order to provide essentials such as nappies, wipes and baby food to families in need who are referred to the charity, and is run by volunteers who collect and distribute donated items throughout Leeds.
This Christmas the charity wants to be able to provide families with more than just the essentials and is asking for donations of toys and gifts, as well as both children’s and adult’s clothing.
Chantal Nogbou, co-founder and trustee of the Baby Bank, said: “The Christmas appeal is mainly about providing a little bit extra – very often families will apply for the basic things that they need, and they don’t want to take advantage of our service so they only ask for what they’re really, really desperate for.
“They’re not asking for anything that they might want, but not necessarily need, so by having this Christmas appeal it means we can actually give them something extra.”
As well as the Christmas appeal, the Baby Bank is running a Reverse Advent Calendar – asking people to put together a box for donation by adding a new item every day of December.
Chantal added: “Very often the families that we work with are isolated – they might not have family around, they might not have friends around, and that can be very lonely at this time of year.
“Just by giving them something that is a gift from us and the people of Leeds, it makes it quite special.
“It’s that thought of kindness that can really make a difference.”
Child poverty in Leeds is a serious issue, with data from End Child Poverty in May 2019 stating that 56,104 children within the Leeds local authority live in households living in poverty (measured as those falling under 60% of the UK median household income after housing costs).
As well as donating, Leeds Baby Bank is asking for volunteers to help in other ways – such as collecting and sorting through donations, putting together referrals and organising fundraising events.
The Leeds Baby Bank is based at Unit 4 in the St John’s Centre in Leeds. Further information on their work, how to get involved or how to apply for their services can be found here.