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Dersingham volunteers at Baby Basics charity see increase in need for supporting vulnerable families

A team of six volunteers who provide support to vulnerable mums and families have seen an increasing demand for their services.

Baby Basics is a volunteer-led group based in St Nicholas Church in the village of Dersingham.

Mothers and families are referred to them by social services, midwives, health visitors and the foodbank identifying them as in need of support.

From left to right: Sue Lake, Jan Cardigan, Maggie Anderson and Janet Kirk, front
From left to right: Sue Lake, Jan Cardigan, Maggie Anderson and Janet Kirk, front

The team will then provide a number of items to support a vulnerable mother or family with basic items for them and the child.

Maggie Anderson, co-ordinator, said: “We had over 300 referrals last year which is the highest ever.

“Our statistics show that the number of referrals were 97 in 2020, and 216 in 2021.”

Items are added to a new Moses basket
Items are added to a new Moses basket

Baby Basics is a national charity based in Sheffield with branches all over the country and the Dersingham group consists of Abby Blackmore, Jo Eldridge, Jan Cardigan, Sue Lake and Janet Kirk.

Items are provided to mothers and families with a newborn baby such as bedding, clothing, nappies, wipes, toiletries, changing mats and all packed into a new Moses basket that comes with a stand.

Maggie said: “We are the only one in West Norfolk and we support Swaffham, Wisbech, coastal areas and Cambridgeshire.

A Baby Basics bundle of essentials
A Baby Basics bundle of essentials

“Once a referral is received from a midwife or health visitor it is logged on the online system and when the items are ready they are collected and delivered.

“We never meet the mums and this protects their dignity and maintains their anonymity.”

The charity, founded in 2009, supports families with the financial and practical burden of looking after a new baby.

Maggie said: “We try to provide whatever they need.

“Recently we have been overwhelmed with items which are in storage but will soon be gone.

“We have been given a grant for buying a pram or bouncy chair but because of the cost this is not possible for every case. We welcome financial donations.”

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