East Yorkshire specialist baby charity Bundles of Joy has seen a significant increase in referrals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number almost double compared to last year.
The charity, which helps to relieve poverty and offers support to disadvantaged families who find themselves in need by providing clothing, toiletries, nappies, toys, prams, cots and other essential baby equipment, dealt with a total of 728 referrals in 2019, and as of the end of July 2020, it had processed 710 referrals.
The referrals for support for families experiencing poverty, crisis, illness or domestic abuse come from agencies including Social Care, Citizens Advice Bureau, Children’s Centres, Health Visitors and Housing.
People losing their jobs, being furloughed, and a rise in domestic violence incidents during lockdown have been the main contributing factors in this increase, and with this heightened level of demand looking set to continue, the charity, which covers the Hull, Beverley and East Riding of Yorkshire area, is in need of donations of essential baby equipment from local businesses and individuals.
The charity which is run by founder Claire Raper with the support of volunteers, has remained operational throughout lockdown, but with a much reduced team of just Claire and two volunteers.
Claire said: “Small, independent charities like Bundles of Joy have worked really hard over the last few months to provide vital support to our local communities at a time when it has been more critical than ever before. We are very proud that we’ve been able to continue to operate throughout the lockdown, and make a real difference during what has been an extremely challenging time for many families across our region.”
Caroline Watson, Scheme Manager for Home Start Hull added: “Working with Bundles of Joy has been a life-saver for us. Whatever we need, from a specialist push chair to premature baby clothes, they’ve delivered. Claire and her volunteers do an amazing job and I don’t know where some of our families would be without their help.”
Bundles of Joy expect demand for its services to continue to increase for the foreseeable future and welcome donations of new or good quality items including toys, play gyms, baby toiletries and nappies in order to allow them to continue to support families in need.