“More people need our support, less people are able to donate”: says CEO of Baby Basics UK
Leading baby bank charity, Baby Basics UK, has revealed referrals to their Sheffield centre rose by 400% in 2020 and has been increasing due to the cost-of-living crisis affecting families.
The charity, founded in Sheffield, has been struggling to support families with the increasing pressures.
Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics UK, said: “More people are needing our support, less people are able to donate. In every community, there is going to be a family in need.”
The charity, which has been supporting households for over a decade, donates to families referred by midwives, health visitors, social workers and other charities.
Ms Ross said Sheffield is the busiest of their 56 centres, with over 200 referrals per month, on average.
Due to the increase in referrals and overworked care professionals, Baby Basics Sheffield had to put a cap on waiting lists for pushchairs, high chairs, cots and big equipment.
Ms Ross said: “Referrals are going to find somewhere else to get that stuff for the meantime because it’s just not fair for us to have someone on the waiting list for two months.
“And us, staff, have to stare at this list and think ‘we’re not providing what we usually do’ so we had to make that decision.”
Ms Ross contacted Sheffield’s councillors and MPs to discuss how the city’s authorities can help the charity keep running.
She said: “I think the difficulty is that nobody really quite knows the demand we’re going to face.”
It was revealed over 50 children in Sheffield were in need of a suitable bed, however Ms Ross says the figure has dropped due to the ‘amazing’ public response to their campaign.
Ms Ross said one of her biggest challenges is making the public aware poverty is more than just food, gas and electricity.
She said: “During covid, when the universal credit increased, it made a massive difference to families. It’s more than just heating they need help with.”
People in Sheffield and across the country can help by donating monetary support, second-hand equipment and clothes in good quality or accessing Baby Basic’s Amazon Wishlists.