Joy for Leeds Baby Bank after YEP coverage inspires St Johns to offer new home

Volunteers at Leeds Baby Bank are looking forward to moving into their new home.
Volunteers at Leeds Baby Bank are looking forward to moving into their new home.

A shopping centre in Leeds has come to the rescue of a charity which supports struggling families throughout our city.

Leeds Baby Bank had issued an urgent appeal for new premises in January after learning it would have to move out of its base in Bramley within three months.

Read more: Future of Leeds Baby Bank in doubt unless new home is found

And when the management team at St Johns shopping centre read about their plight in the YEP, they offered up an empty shop unit on the first floor for free.

Centre manager Susan Mendoza said: “When we saw that Leeds Baby Bank was desperately looking for premises we felt we had to step in.

"The charity does such vital work helping hundreds of struggling families in our community, so we were only too happy to help.”

Volunteers who founded the charity had said they would have to limit their support for struggling families if they could not find a new home.

The worries over finding suitable premises came not long after a break-in during which burglars ransacked a storage room and stole a high chair, toys and nappies awaiting distribution.

Read more: Burglars ransack Leeds Baby Bank and steal items destined for struggling families

But the team is now looking forward to moving into new premises that will allow them to expand the support they can offer to families.

Co-founder Chantal Nogbou said: "Leeds Baby Bank is very excited to be moving into St Johns.

"Our unit is bigger than our previous home so it will enable us to create a more streamlined process to sorting referrals but it will also give us space for more community supporting

work in future such as drop in coffee mornings, workshops relating to slings, cloth nappies and breastfeeding support. The world is our oyster!”

The charity is currently in the process of moving and expects to be open to the public once again by the end of this month.

Read more: Leeds mums launch ‘baby foodbank’ to help cash-strapped parents in city

It plans to hold an open house event on May 19 from 11am to 2pm, giving people the chance to find out more about the support it offers as well as volunteering opportunities.

Preparations are also under way for its annual black-tie charity ball, which will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Leeds on September 29.

Anyone wishing to buy tickets or donate prizes should email leedsbabybank@gmail.com for more information.