Money worries leave more parents turning to ‘baby bank’ for food
- Credit: Archant
Families have been turning in huge numbers to the Suffolk Baby Bank for help with feeding and clothing newborns and young children, it has emerged.
Klaire Bailey, founder of the baby bank which is based in Bury St Edmunds, has seen just over a 400% increase in the number of parents coming to her for help in May – with the coronavirus crisis putting some families under financial pressure.
She usually gets roughly 20 parents coming to her for help each week, but recently she has had as many as 117 in one day.
“A lot of those people are self employed families with a baby on the way before lockdown and now they don’t have the money to continue purchasing stuff for baby,” she explained.
“They were waiting to buy their Moses basket or babygrows until later on and now they literally have no money or government support.
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“Many families were relying on bonuses or have received pay cuts and now they aren’t earning enough to survive – a lot of them are still waiting on Universal Credit.”
One mum in Great Blakenham came to the baby bank as she had ended up washing her children’s clothes in washing up liquid because she couldn’t afford to spend the money on laundry liquid.
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There are 115 baby banks in the UK and Mrs Bailey says the rise in referrals has been seen across the country, with the steepest increase being in rural areas.
She and the other organisers all believed the boom at the beginning of lockdown would die down eventually, but instead it has continued to rise.
She said: “High commodity items like baby food don’t get donated, jars of baby food have become the new loo roll.
“Whenever my kids are out I send them into shops to try and find it because we aren’t getting enough.
“We have been making referrals to food banks where we can as we can’t cope with this on our own.”
For mums who are living in sheltered accommodation, bundles often include soft toys, new baby clothes and other nice items as it can be damaging to their mental health if they feel they cannot provide these for their baby.
Klaire pointed out that sheltered accommodation often lacks outdoor spaces and mums there have suffered especially.