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Helping baby feel welcome…and safe

When teacher Laura Hutchinson arrived in Leicester from Bristol in June 2017, she wanted to continue doing some voluntary work. Within weeks she had founded Baby-basics Leicester  one of about two dozen branches of a charity which started in Sheffield in 2009.

Based in Narborough Road, the registered charity now has half-a-dozen regular volunteers contributing something like 25 hours a week.

The charity exists to help families cope with the very significant costs of looking after a new baby. Its Facebook page has so far helped the charity provide Moses baskets packed containing dozens of items adding up to a cost of £206.52 each to needy families.

The families are all referred by other charities, or by health visitors.The health visitors hand over the gifts to the families. That keeps the volunteers away from families who may need privacy, but it also acts as a very good way of getting the families to fullyt engage with their social workers.

Speakers Laura Hutchenson and Peter Coopey with President Pradeep Popat

Speakers Laura Hutchenson and Peter Coopey with President Pradeep Popat

In less than six months, Baby basics Leicester has helped more than four dozen families who might include asylum seekers, the homeless, teenaged parents and victims of abuse.

The items packed into the Moses baskets include nappies, toiletries, babygrows, feeding bottles and much more.

The charity’s fundraiser, Peter Coopey, formerly executive director of county organisation Menphys, introduced Laura to Novus Rotarians and said that Facebook had been staggeringly successful in attracting donations of goods and cash, including £550 from Wigston Fire Station’s Christmas collection.

After Laura had given an excellent overview of Baby basics, Peter said that the next big target was to change baskets into cots, for the growing babies. Already 10 families are on the waiting list for donated costs and new mattresses, which cost about £90 each.

He said that Baby basics is committed to fund half of the total cost, leaving him as fundraiser to find about £675 to meet the needs of these families.

Laura and Peter were thanked by Novus president Pradeep Popat.