For four years, the hardworking team at Baby Basics Portsmouth have been supporting families who cannot afford nappies or clothes for their baby - but lockdown saw them expand even further.
Referrals from healthcare professionals increased dramatically over the lockdown period, but leader Diane Urquhart and her volunteers have worked hard to meet demand, even branching out to give items to older siblings.
Diane, who runs the service through Family Church, said: ‘It’s about giving them breathing space and taking some burden off.
‘Because of my history of being a neonatal nurse for years I have always had a heart for families, I have seen families at their rawest.
‘It’s really lovely to help families in such an amazing way, the thing that drives me forward with this is the stories. It’s that real community spirit and that’s what I love.’
Alongside baskets filled with nappies, wipes, toys, clothes and more, Baby Basics Portsmouth can help with food parcels for struggling families, who come from a variety of backgrounds.
Diane added: ‘The public is great, we get donations all the time. Families do want to help other families.
‘We have had some really good success stories, we had a couple who had their first baby just before lockdown and they were both made redundant.
‘We gave them a moses basket and food parcels, they got back on their feet, moved out of the area and dad got a job.’
Mum-of-two Rosie Faulkner, from Portchester, has been volunteering with the service since September last year.
She said: ‘I really enjoy it, I’m quite fortunate I can afford things for my boys but I know there are thousands out there who can’t. It’s rewarding to know we have helped someone out who can’t afford it.’
Baby Basics UK is a network of baby banks across the country, which have recently gained the support of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
A new service, Portsmouth Baby Bank run by The Parenting Network, is due to open in the city in September.
For more information, or if agencies would like to partner with Baby Basics, contact [email protected]