Portsmouth Baby Bank to open to support families in need

FAMILIES in need will get a boost of extra support next month when a new city baby bank opens.

Sunday, 9th August 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 9th August 2020, 9:07 am
Matt Foster, chief executive of The Parenting Network in Portsmouth with Rachel Hance, Portsmouth Baby Bank coordinator

Portsmouth Baby Bank is set to begin helping families in September by providing free donated baby clothes, toiletries, cots, prams and toys to help alleviate child poverty and support families in financial and emotional stress.

The bank became possible after a crowdfunding campaign by The Parenting Network in Portsmouth, run and founded by Matt Foster, and the team will work with families who are referred from health visitors and children’s centres.

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He told The News: ‘We have been working in the city for a few years and we have seen that there is a need for families to get more help.

‘We had these plans for a baby bank but it wasn’t going to happen immediately but with Covid-19 more people than ever need help. The pandemic means families, who weren’t working with services before, may now need that help and support so we decided to push on with the project.’

The team raised 2,500 through crowdfunding and got match funding from Crowdfund Portsmouth which has been used to set up a base at Portsmouth Guildhall and is also a donation drop-off point.

Matt, 39, said: ‘The money has helped us set up the base and we also hope to get a few new baby things as well to help keep up stock but we have already had so many donations which is really great.

‘Part of the project is also helping to reduce waste and promote recycling. We have got boxes and bags with logos so we reduce plastic use and we can make up nice bundles for each referral.

‘There are some items we don’t take like car seats because there is no way to check they are safe and haven’t been in an accident but it means families can donate any baby things they have and don’t need and know it is going to a family who really needs it.’

Dad-of-two Matt set up DadzClub back in 2017 to help create a support network for fathers and also founded The Parenting Network, which runs a number of projects to support families in Portsmouth.

Donations needed (brand new and sealed in original packaging) :

- Nappies

- Baby wipes

- Nappy cream

- Top to toe wash

- Baby shampoo

- Baby soap

- Cotton wool

- Baby towels

- Nappy bags

- Adult shampoo

- Shower gel

- Deodorant

- Breast pads

- Sanitary and maternity pads

- Toothpaste and toothbrushes

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