Case Study: Baby Basics Northampton
About the Group
Baby Basics Northampton is a Community Group who aim to ensure that every baby has a safe place to sleep. They provide much needed essentials and equipment to mothers and families across Northamptonshire who are unable to provide these items for themselves; including but not limited to teenage mums, people seeking asylum and women fleeing domestic abuse and trafficking.
The organised moved their premises to Wollaston just before the lockdown to allow for larger space to meet the increased need for their services.
During Covid, volunteers were unable to attend sessions and donation drop-off point were closed. Despite this, the group continued to provide starter packs to mothers struggling across the county and continued to assist health professionals by supporting women under their care. Packs were also required earlier due to Mums increased anxiety and need for reassurance during the pandemic.
The group have seen a 22% increase in referrals compared to last year and their referrals have doubled in April 2021 compared to April 2022.
The team needed to re-engage with volunteers and run more volunteer sessions including during the weekends to allow a wider range of people to attend. Volunteers also required training to introduce them back safely and to ensure they were able to work safely in the organisation’s new premises. The organisation also wanted to increase their community engagement to encourage more people from the community to get involved as well as spread the reach of the charity further across Northamptonshire.
What was achieved through the grant
Funding provided through the Constance Travis Endowment Fund has enabled equipment needed to train new and existing volunteers to be purchased. Baby Basics has now secured 12 new volunteers through the project and has also gained 6,300 followers on Facebook.
Voice from a beneficiary
One Mum said: "I literally had nothing for him... When my health visitor arrived for her first visit, he had no clothes or nappies that fit... I asked her to take him away and give him to a family who could give him the life he deserved! She refused and the following day knocked at my door and filled the living room with everything!... The relief I felt was indescribable! You gave me the ability to start enjoying my son..."
Voice from a Volunteer
One Volunteer turned Staff member said: “I first became aware of Baby Basics when I saw an appeal on Facebook for donations. As I had a baby and a toddler, we had clothing that they’d grown out of, but it was hard for me to part with. Seeing an opportunity for it to help Mums in need was the push I needed. Growing up both mine and my husband’s families had sometimes struggled financially, so it wasn’t difficult to understand a little about how useful these donations would be to someone in financial need. Knowing how the clothes would be used also eased my emotional attachment to the clothes as I knew that they’d be appreciated by another Mum and baby.
“In 2018 on Facebook I saw a post looking for volunteers. My daughters were now at pre-school for a few hours each week and I hadn’t yet returned to work so I was instantly drawn to the post. The opportunity to help the charity directly and without a negative impact on time with my family was ideal. I was keen to help but volunteering was actually much more than that. Having positive interactions with both the Operations Team and other volunteers as well as knowing that what I was doing was directly helping vulnerable Mums and their babies had a really positive impact on my mental health. I looked forward to the sessions each week and felt a real sense of achievement whether it was from sorting donations, organising and storing clean clothes or making up the starter packs. My confidence grew from spending time in such a productive, supportive and selfless environment and my mood lifted at each session.
“When a paid role became available on the Operational Team, I was excited to apply and absolutely thrilled to be successful. Having not worked since being made redundant 9 years ago, returning to work was daunting but the opportunity to work with the charity was the right choice for myself and my family. It meant I could continue supporting the charity that I loved and devote more time to it whilst still being able to balance family life. 6 weeks into my new role I am still learning the size of the workload but the dedication of the team is like no other I’ve worked with before and the focus is always on delivering those beautiful starter packs to the families that need them.”