Baby 2 Baby grows to help families in need

SPACE TO GROW: Baby 2 Baby’s storage facility in Crowborough

A CROWBOROUGH-based charity that supplies baby clothing and essentials to children in need across East Sussex and the surrounding areas has come a long way since its own birth in 2018.

The charity has “grown up” and extended its offers of help to children beyond the age of two, co-founder Hannah Powell told the Times.

“A couple of years after we were founded, we expanded our range up to age 16. We were getting lots of referrals, and at that point we did have the storage.

“The thing is that if there are many children in a family, it is the older ones who are likely to go without,” she explained.

The charity takes referrals from professionals at a range of organisations, from local authorities, social workers and women’s refuges, to the likes of Citizens’ Advice and Tunbridge Wells Welcomes Refugees.

They accept donations of excellent quality clothes and safe equipment for babies and children. The bundles of donations are parceled up in special, recyclable wrapping or bags with a gift tag, so they feel like a present from the community rather than a hand-out.

Challenges facing the families range from low income to mental health issues, domestic abuse and homelessness (or risk thereof), and recipients can be care leavers, young parents, asylum seekers or even women who have been trafficked.

In order to donate the best items and to avoid being overwhelmed by goods, the charity is very careful about what it accepts. However as the charity has grown, so has the need to find more storage space, Hannah explained.

“Last year we moved to bigger premises in Crowborough, so we can now advertise that we are taking donations again,” said Hannah.

The donation process involves checking what goods someone has to donate, ensuring they are safe and then making an appointment to accept the donation.

“We avoid what happens to charity shops,” she added, making reference to bags of donations left outside shops, which charities might need to pay to dispose of.

However, she stressed, the flip side of the screening process is ensuring that the professionals who made the referral can get all items into a car for delivery. For example, the charity accepts bedding for all ages, but only baby cots and toddler beds – not single beds.

The arms-length arrangement ensures that each referring agency knows what it is bringing and preserves families’ privacy.

There have been growing pains, Hannah acknowledged. The charity’s running costs are relatively low, but it has become “more difficult to get funding”.

“We are no longer a new project,” she said.

And the pandemic has hit charities’ ability to fundraise, so more of them have turned to grants for help.

“We have found that since Covid, a lot of funding pots are over-subscribed. Need has risen, too.” she said.

As a result, Baby 2 Baby is returning to fundraising to put it on a more financially sustainable footing. The charity is seeking sponsors for a gala dinner dance and auction this September, to help raise money and awareness about the charity.

“We are not a business, but we need to ensure we have got financial stability,” said Hannah.

The dinner dance is to be held on September 16 at the Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield.

Auction and raffle lots already received include a framed, signed picture of DJ Fatboy Slim, England Rugby tickets, a styling session with Victoria Genevieve and tickets for Sussex Cricket.

“We decided to go big!” said Hannah.

Donors and potential sponsors can find out more about the charity by emailing or at:

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