Charity helps mums and newborns
Joanne Eldridge with Brogan help sort and pack with Baby Basics

A charity group of volunteers in West Norfolk has this week helped their 200th mum with all the essentials she and her baby both need in the first few days (weeks) together.

Baby Basics offers help to women who need help and items for their newborns and who may be vulnerable, from teenagers, those in poverty for whatever reason, to asylum-seekers or those fleeing domestic violence.

A Moses basket packed with items from nappies and sanitary items, to blankets clothing, toys, wipes and shampoo is made-up for each mum in need, usually referred via the professional health services, and can be the only items some mothers have at the time.

“Baby Basics works on the simplest of models but offers such important help to women, many of whom may be incredibly vulnerable. Every item given away is donated by someone, or from groups in the community and sorted, checked, washed and ironed if not new, and packed and labelled by our team,” said the group’s Maggie Anderson.

The national charity of Baby Basics was launched in Sheffield in 2009 when a lead midwife for displaced people was shocked by stories of women who could not afford sanitary wear after giving birth. Some were in situations of exploitation and others were in desperate poverty.

A branch of the group was then created in West Norfolk at the end of 2015 and is based in St Nicholas Church Dersingham where volunteers meet each Tuesday when they work on ensuring no new mum in the borough is without the essentials for her child.

Maggie continues: “There is a growing network of community groups and churches across the country running a Baby Basics project and here in West Norfolk referrals can be made via email, or if needed by telephone initially to us and all we need is the mum’s name or initials, and the baby’s due date along with the gender if it’s known.”

The charity will email the care professional or person who made the referral with a collection date and the basket will be ready when the mum is 36 weeks pregnant. The contents of each Moses basket are reliant entirely on donations and hundreds of items are given away each year.

Further details and information, including how to donate, can be found out by emailing babybasicswestnorfolk@gmail.comor via the charity’s West Norfolk branch’s Facebook page.