Women set up new baby bank to support families in need

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A new donation bank has been set up to provide baby essentials to those in need.

The Tiny Hands Baby Bank Yorkshire, based in South Elmsall, collects and hands out pre-loved clothes, blankets, toiletries, equipment and toys to families experiencing hardship.

It was founded by Jane Robinson and friend Rachel Hodgson last month with the aim of alleviating child poverty.

And in the baby bank’s first two weeks, the pair have been inundated with donations and have already made a difference to the lives of dozens of people.

Mrs Robinson, 45, said: “My husband and I foster children and we were always getting asked, ‘do you want this? do you need that?’

“And when you go on Facebook, there’s always posts from people giving things away or requests from people who need various items.

“I just thought, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could bring all these things together in one place and distribute them to those in need. “When we launched the Tiny Hands page on Facebook, it went massive, bigger than we ever expected it to.

“We have already helped a lot of people with needs right across the spectrum from those with financial difficulties, to those who have fled domestic violence situations without any belongings and people with mental health needs.”

The baby bank supports families who are expecting as well as those with young children, providing supplies for newborns right through to two-year-old toddlers. It helps people living in the South Elmsall, South Kirkby and Hemsworth, areas as well as in Pontefract, Castleford and Wakefield.

Mrs Robinson and Mrs Hodgson, who run the facility on a voluntary basis, accept donations from businesses, community organisations and individuals. They work with agencies including social services, Riverside Care, nurseries, charities and TPS Supported Housing to identify those in need.

But people can also request help themselves and the women say they take steps to ensure recipients remain confidential.

Mrs Robinson said: “If people need something, and we have it, then they can take it. It’s as simple as that.”

The baby bank has received so many donations that it has already outgrown its base - a modest shed in the garden of Mrs Robinson’s South Elmsall home.

And with demand for supplies expected to increase as the bank becomes more popular, the women are now looking for a new place to store the items.

“Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we have run out of room,” Mrs Robinson said.

“Our next step is to look at fundraising or to see if there are any local businesses which are willing to help us purchase a large summer house.

“That will mean we can store more bigger things like cots and pushchairs.”