Leeds Baby Bank makes plea for donations as it struggles to meet demand

Leeds Baby Bank volunteers Liz Conner, with daughter Sicily, and Jackie Appleton.
Leeds Baby Bank volunteers Liz Conner, with daughter Sicily, and Jackie Appleton.

A charity helping needy families in Leeds has issued an appeal for double prams and cots as it struggles to meet demand.

Leeds Baby Bank said a number of parents were waiting for the essential items which are donated less frequently than clothes, toys or nappies.

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Former foster carer Jackie Appleton, who joined the team last year, said: “We’re always on the lookout for double prams and cots in decent working order. They’re the expensive items that people need to ask for. They’re like golddust at the moment.

“One family waited over a month for a double pram but it’s just as and when we get them.”

Since a group of mums set up the baby bank in January 2017, it has helped deliver packages of essentials to hundreds of families referred to the service.

Volunteer Liz Conner said: “There’s such a need for it. It’s not just people who aren’t working. It’s the people who are just managing. The fridge goes and then they can’t afford to buy the baby equipment.”

She said it was upsetting to see some people on social media say parents turning to the service did not deserve to be helped.

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“Even if the parents haven’t made the best decisions in life, why wouldn’t you want those children to have the best start?” the mother-of-three said.

Jackie said they saw how much it meant to the families when they turned up to collect items they could not otherwise afford for their children.

“One woman hugged me and she was in tears,” she said. “She was so grateful. I composed myself and the next woman was just the same.”

The team are currently in the process of fitting out new premises in St John’s Shopping Centre, where they have been given a unit rent-free.

It is hoped that this space will be used not only to sort and store donations, but also to host parenting groups and classes.

Anyone interesting in volunteering or who can support the charity through donations can contact the team via the Leeds Baby Bank website or its Facebook page.