The Birth Of The Rothwell Baby Bank

Rothwell Baby Bank is a new initiative started by the dream of one woman – Lea Anne, a local lady striving to help the residents of Rothwell, in a way which would benefit many people, who through no fault of their own have found themselves struggling to provide the basics which every family deserves. This would be to collect donations of baby equipment, clothes and toys for children up to 10, from kind hearted local people in Rothwell and distribute them to residents in need in the neighbourhood.

She formed a group of local people, with a similar outlook on the plight of people in Rothwell and the surrounding areas, who are struggling to make ends meet, not just in the face of the current pandemic, that is COVID19, but before this was even heard of Rothwell Baby Bank was formed!

“I read a post on Facebook asking for volunteers. I replied saying I wanted to help. I had just moved back into the area permanently and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to volunteer for something worthwhile, which would help local families. After a few initial hiccups, a group of us got together to discuss how we could help. We’d all heard of places throughout the country, including many in Leeds who run similar groups. We wanted to do something for our own resident”. Commented Lindsey Harrison who replied to the Facebook call out.

After a few meet ups – all socially distanced of course – and chats online, the group arranged an outdoor venue for an official meeting to form the committee and swear in members and discuss how things should progress. Alongside this volunteers signed up to help with sorting and distributing items. Over the last few months, a group of local people have been working hard behind the scenes, gathering information and trying to find out how the idea would work best for local people. Covid 19 has made this a very difficult task with hurdles and disappointments from every angle.

On a daily basis, they have been emailing, phoning, messaging, meeting and talking to various people about how the project can move forward and find a permanent home to store donations and distribute the items. 

‘We’re very lucky to have be able to use Blackburn Hall as our temporary home whilst it has been closed due to COVID19, but it has not been ideal, having access for only a few hours each week. We have to move from here in September, so we are in fact, in desperate need of finding a new home with enough space to store and work from for this very worthwhile venture, to be successful.’ Added Lindsey

“If anyone knows of anywhere which may be suitable, we would very much appreciate the information. We are a totally non-profit group and as such have to rely on bids from local establishments, such as councils, for money to help pay our costs, which we are working hard to secure. But if somebody was to offer us free storage, that would be even better!”

The group plan to do fundraising themselves in the future, once this is possible (after current restrictions have been lifted). The group are also working with other organisations, such as victims of Domestic Violence and making sure they receive some of the donations to help anyone who needs to re-locate quickly without the opportunity to pack any belongings.

So far a large quantity of items, such as cots, prams, bedding, baby baths, baby gates, high chairs, nappies, clothing, toys and shoes, donated by our lovely, caring community, ready to be distributed throughout the local area, which is very much appreciated and shows what a lovely, kind hearted place we live in. 

There is a need in this area for the help the group is providing but unfortuanately, because of the current situation with the COVID19 pandemic, it has been very difficult to access the usual avenues to promote and advertise the Baby Bank’s services. The community needs to know of their existance and how to gain access to the help offered. Any ideas on how to promote the group even further would be greatly received!

What the baby bank requires…

The group needs anyone who can help them set up their own referral system. Lindsey emphasised this need for help. 

“We need people in authority to contact us to add us to their system, to get the ball rolling! If there are any local doctors, schools, children’s centres, midwives, housing officers, social workers etc, out there who would like to add us to their system then please contact us as soon as possible! Or if you know of anyone who we can contact to add us to the system we will be eternally grateful. People in need can then access our service. Once this is in place we’re ready, willing and able to provide for our local neighbourhood” 

IF YOU NEED THE ROTHWELL BABY BANK..

Don’t struggle alone, The Rothwell Baby Bank can help alleviate financial hardship with baby equipment, clothing, shoes and toys for children up to 10. Here is what you need to do

1. Contact your local doctor, midwife, health visitor, social worker, midwife, housing advisor, children’s centre, school or similar and mention Rothwell Baby Bank (Rothwell Together)

2. They should have a referral form they can fill in to inform the RBB (Rothwell Baby Bank) the items you are in need of.

3. They will in-turn inform the RBB and pass on what is needed

4. The items will be gathered together by RBB ready to go to the person in need.

5. The items will be taken/collected and distributed to the person in need.

There are also posters in various places such as the notice board in Morrisons, Rothwell or contact the group directly by telephoning 07720926032 / 07894451788 or emailing rothwelltogether@gmail.com

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