Church opens 'lifeline' Baby Bank

First published on: 8th September 2021

A vital service offering support to new parents who are struggling to afford essentials for their babies has been launched by a North Tyneside church.

The North Shields Baby Bank, based at St John’s Percy Main, has already helped several families access much-needed provisions including nappies, wipes, clothing and baby formula.

Launched in the summer, the Baby Bank – the first of its kind in North Tyneside – is the result of a partnership between the church and Karbon Homes.

Reverend Lee Cleminson, Vicar at St John’s Church, said: “We’ve all heard of food banks and know what a valuable lifeline they are for people struggling. However, as a result of parents discreetly contacting the vicarage, asking for help, there was a clear need for a similar scheme which supplied basic baby items.

"One mother who came to the church for help explained that she was having to choose between charging her electric meter and buying nappies for her beautiful newborn baby boy. She was desperate and said she never, ever thought she’d see herself in this position.

"It was a conversation with Melanie Rees from Karbon Homes, our Community Connector for the area, which really got the ball rolling. Despite having to postpone the initial launch of the service because of the pandemic, we’ve spent time developing connections with local organisations in the area, such as The Cedarwood Trust in Meadow Well and Family Gateway in Wallsend, which are both referring parents and helping us to reach as many families as we can.”

The project secured £4,935 of funding from Karbon’s Community Grants Fund, which has covered the set up and initial running costs. 

Melanie added: “It’s been fantastic to work with Reverend Lee and the team of volunteers at St John’s Church to bring forward the idea for the baby bank and get the project off the ground. 

"The need for services like this is greater than ever before due to the impact the pandemic has had on people’s finances. The service is a fantastic support mechanism, ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive, and really means the world to those who benefit from it.”

Thanks to kind donations from the community and support from Karbon, the baby bank has been able to provide a number of baby bundles containing a Moses basket, nappies, wipes, bedding, clothing, baby baths and other baby essentials.

One Baby Bank user, who has praised the lifeline service, said: “I was caught out when my baby girl arrived early and as I was discharged from hospital, a local community worker contacted the Baby Bank at St John’s on my behalf as I had nothing. 

"The volunteers provided me with the most beautiful baby bundle. I was so overwhelmed with what had been done, not only for me but for my innocent baby girl. If it wasn’t for the help of the Baby Bank, I don’t know what I would have done or where I would have turned.”  

For information regarding the service, either email or contact through the Baby Bank’s Facebook page.

Donations of baby items, such as baskets, clothes or any other essentials will also be gratefully received.

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