"We need your help": Leeds Baby Bank plea as charity faces closure as demand almost doubles

Leeds Baby Bank has launched an urgent appeal for public help after a surge in families needing help has left the charity needing to raise over £90,000.

By Alex Grant
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:45 am

The charity, which supports children and families living in poverty across the city, is launching an urgent fundraising appeal to the people of Leeds this Christmas as it fights to keep its doors open.

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The bank has seen referrals double from 500 to 1,000 in 2021 alone, but with a large reduction in income from charitable trusts over the same period and a need to raise £90,000 a year to run its services, the charity says it is in need of urgent support.

Leeds Baby Bank manager Will Munton told the YEP: "We're a local charity, supporting local families and we need your help." Picture: Gary Longbottom.

Speaking to the YEP bank manager Will Munton issued this call for support.

"We're a local charity, supporting local families and we need your help." he said "There's a fine line between being in poverty and surviving and we are seeing so many people dropping below that line. If you can give a small donation or a regular donation to our charity then you will be supporting families on your doorstep and every penny goes to families in real crisis."

Set up in 2017 by Chantal Nogbou, the charity supports children and families by providing basic essentials such as nappies, formula, clothes and toys for children aged 0-5. Families like Sarah’s, who was referred to Leeds Baby Bank when she was 38 weeks pregnant.

Sarah said: “I hadn’t gotten much for my baby. I was too scared to leave the house because my ex had threatened to harm me and my kids if he saw us, I was struggling financially too. Leeds Baby Bank contacted me and asked me what I needed… A few days later the things I asked for were delivered to my house, I gave birth the next day! I am so grateful for their help and what they did for me and my kids.”

The bank has seen referrals double from 500 to 1,000 in 2021 alone. Picture: Gary Longbottom.

Leeds Baby Bank says it speaks to people like Sarah every day.

Chantal Nogbou, Trustee and Leeds Baby Bank founder, said: “Right now, the demand for our services has never been higher. Devastatingly, more than 30,000 children are living in poverty in our city, many from working families, and with cuts to Universal Credit and the impact of the pandemic, more and more people are in desperate need of our help.

“But with less than six months’ worth of funding in the bank, we face a very uncertain future. In the last 9 months, we have seen a significant decline in our income from Trusts. Income we rely on to fund our vital services. As we face the next few months, we are asking the people of Leeds to help us in keeping our services going. As a charity, we are completely reliant on fundraising and donations for the money we need to run our vital services. Please help if you can – no child in our city should go without.”

As winter approaches and the city recovers from the snow and near freezing temperatures brought on by Storm Arwen families face an even tougher struggle to keep warm.

"The weather and the winter period can bring real problem for families in crisis." explained Will "If they are already in a crisis situation and then they've got increased costs from energy prices, increased costs to put clothes on their children's back.

"We are getting asked for blankets more and more recently to keep people warm. Winter can be very very harsh for families, not just financially but also just to have that basic shelter and warmth."

Those wishing to donate can do so here.

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