"Having babies is the most expensive thing you'll ever do" - The Sunderland baby bank helping struggling mums
A baby bank providing clothes and nappies for new mums has helped dozens of struggling mums within weeks of opening in its new location.
Bundles for Babies is Sunderland’s first Baby Bank, and is a project by charity FISCUS, based at the Co-Op Centre on Whitehouse Road.
The team have helped more than 30 mums, providing baby clothes, bottles, nappies and even toys for newborns.
Anita Heskett-Saddington, Fiscus Charity Manager, said: “Having babies is the most expensive thing you will ever do, even if you’re working.”
According to the centre, women between the ages of 16 to 30 have used the baby bank so far – but women have been referred to the project from all over Sunderland and even some from outside the city.
Rachael Lawson, Business Development and Project Manager for Keep Active, said: “Just last week we helped a woman in labour who had nothing at all – not even the basics like food and nappies.
“We’ve been lucky so far to be able to provide these items to women because so many people have been donating.”
Historically the baby bank has controlled their intake of donations because of limited space, but their new location at the Co-Op Centre means they’re able to take in more donations and the public has overwhelmed them with support.
Anita added: “The baby bank attracts all kinds of volunteers with great skills who just want to help.
“A lot of the mothers come back to volunteer as well, it’s not just about coming along and taking things, they come back and give their time.”
Bundles for Babies is now providing full welfare benefit and crisis support sessions for pregnant women and new mothers.
In these sessions mothers can learn paediatric first aid, be set up with delivery partners, have time with midwives, get cooking and nutritional advice and get mental health support.
Rachael said: “These groups are so special.
“We’ve laughed together and we’ve cried together, part of it is tough – some of these women are living in difficult circumstances but I know the people I’ve been working with and how the baby bank has had such a positive impact on their lives.”