In Southwark many children are living in poverty, going to school after having a night of sleep on somebody else’s couch and going without basics such as warm clothes, toys and food. Southwark Citizens, a local branch of national community organising charity Citizens UK, have come together to offer immediate support to these children and their families and launched the first Southwark Baby Bank Lunch on Friday 4th April at the Salvation Army in Camberwell Green.
Janet Martin, Southwark Citizens member from the Salvation Army said:
"We know that families in our community are struggling. We want to do something that's friendly and informal so those mums and dads who would benefit from some help can come along and feel supported by their neighbors. Raising a family is a tough job, made even harder when the cost of living is so high. Little ones grow so quickly, clothes and toys can be passed on to someone else who needs them next."
A baby bank is where parents in need can come and get the essentials such as nappies and clothes that they are not able to provide from their own means, much like a food bank. Similarly to food banks, parents using the baby bank will also be offered access to other support services.
It is tragic that we need a baby bank in the first place but this a practical step of action being taken by one of Southwark Citizens member institutions. Local nurseries, schools, faith institutions and parents have been invited to support this action and also invite families that will benefit from the baby bank services.
Child destitution is one of the biggest issues on the Southwark Citizens agenda and together with the MumSpace project, a space for local mums to get together and support one another, we will be discussing how we can work together with the local authority to put an end to child destitution in our borough. The solutions and ideas will be put to local politicians at the Southwark Citizens Assembly that will take place on Tuesday 22nd April ahead of the local election in May.