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St Nicholas church • Dersingham • Norfolk

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Baby Basics

Help for New Mothers and their Babies

Baby Basics West Norfolk is a volunteer led project. We are a small local branch of a National Charity set up initially in Sheffield in 2009.

Our team meets once a week at St Nicholas Church in Dersingham . . . (but a lot of behind the scenes volunteering takes place unseen throughout each week). We get together to prepare the starter packs and all other referrals requested by the Health Professionals to help mums and families struggling to meet the financial and practical needs of looking after a new baby. Most often a referral is for a new Moses Basket (with a stand) which provide a safe bed for the babies to sleep in, and are packed full of essentials such as nappies, wipes, toiletries, blankets, baby towels, and baby clothes from new-born to three months. For some mothers, these are the only items they may have for their baby.

As well as these items for babies, essentials such as maternity pads, breast pads and handmade bags of toiletries are provided for the mum. More recently we have been able to provide other items such as changing mats, bags, bouncy chairs, and prams.

All families are referred to Baby Basics by Midwives, Health Visitors, Social Workers, Leeway (The Refuge), Children’s Services, Lily, The Borough Council, Housing services, the Purfleet Trust, The Food Bank, The Night Shelter, and sometimes the Police and Custodial Services, and many other professionals. Help is given to vulnerable groups including, but not limited to, those facing poverty, homelessness, families in crisis, teenage mums and women fleeing domestic violence, as well as refugees and those who have been trafficked.

Demand for the service continues to grow. Prior to 2019 we had seen between 40-60 referrals per year, Since 2019 there has been an increase from 49 referrals received and completed in 2019, 99 in 2020 (the beginning of Covid and lockdown) to 211 in 2021.

So far in 2023 264 referrals have been completed. (As at August 26th 2023), and this is likely to rise significantly. Whilst it is a privilege to provide these Moses Basket bundles and other essential items to those who need them most, it’s a sad reflection on the need locally.

It takes courage for these mums to accept or agree to help, so when they are referred to us by the professionals we know they will get ongoing signposting for further support.

Our ethos is to try to give these mums dignity, to feel worthy, because they are. Having to ask for help is hard. Any donations, large or small are gratefully received. Just £2 will buy a packet of maternity pads. All the Moses baskets are new. Fundraising and donations enable us to ensure each baby has a new bed to sleep in.

Baby Basics West Norfolk is associated with St. Nicholas Church, Dersingham. Registered charity no: 250450. For more information on our vision please visit the Baby Basics website at www.baby-basics.org.ukor find us on Facebook BabyBasicsWestNorfolk

Baby Basics - Duchess of Cambridge Volunteers at Dersingham

On Tuesday 4th of August 2020 HRH The Duchess of Cambridge launched a new initiative with Baby Basics, Little Village and Abernecessities, following on from a private volunteering visit to her local branch of the national Baby Basics charity at St Nicholas’ Church in Dersingham.

In May, The Duchess of Cambridge expressed a desire to see what happened “at the sharp end” of this organisation that supports expectant or new mothers.

Maggie Anderson Co-Lead of Baby Basics West Norfolk explains: “The Duchess requested to volunteer with myself and a Health Professional to build a Moses Basket, ready to be delivered to a mum in need. During the visit, she asked lots of questions and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Whilst it was exciting, because of social distancing requirements, it took a lot of organising and numerous telephone calls to ensure this private visit could take place.”

Following on from this in June, at the Duchess’ request, HRH met with two mothers and their babies who had previously received a filled Baby Basics Moses Basket. Over an informal afternoon tea, the Duchess heard their stories and how Baby Basics had helped them when they needed it most.

The Duchess of Cambridge said: “Over recent months, I have heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the most difficult of times and I have been deeply moved by their stories. Having somewhere to turn to for support is important for all families, and baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need.”

The Revd Mark Capron Rector of St Nicholas Church Dersingham said: “It is wonderful that HRH has chosen to support this local Christian Charity. The Duchess is aware that sadly there are many babies who arrive into the world where there is so little. The Baby Basics Moses basket offers an expression of God’s love and hope to new and precious lives as they begin their journey in this world; a journey’s beginning that to some degree echoes Jesus who was born in a humble place, being laid in a manger. The Duchess of Cambridge’s involvement is will raise the profile of the wonderful work done by Baby Basics, and in doing so will support all those who need it most.”

On hearing of the Duchess’ care and involvement with Baby Basics, The Bishop of Norwich – The Rt Revd Graham Usher said: “I am delighted that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has supported the outreach work of St Nicholas’ Church in Dersingham by filling a Moses basket. The arrival of a new baby should be a time of joy and delight, but for some women, it can be a time of huge vulnerability. I pray that the gift of a basket of items will support them and encourage them so that they can delight in the remarkable gift of a new life.”

Baby Basics aims to support and empower families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. In the UK, it is powered primarily by volunteers and typically run on professional referral from services such as health visitors, midwives and social workers.

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